Resources from Environmental Education - 3/25/21
First Day of Spring!
written by EE teacher Laureanna Raymond-Duvernell
It’s finally here! We can feel it in the air, smell it in the trees and see it all around us. The official first day of spring is this Saturday, March 20.
But what does that actually mean? The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox. Vernal = spring. Equinox = Equal day and night. So, the first day of spring is when we celebrate having equal amounts of sunlight and not-sunlight, or around 12 hours of each at most locations around the world.
So while we have been seeing signs of spring for a month or so, it’s REALLY here after this weekend! Keep your eye, ear, nose and intuition out for more signs that the days are lengthening and the earth is being warmed by the sun once again.
A great book for sharing the transition of seasons with kids is Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring by Kenard Pak. Read it together and then go on a hike to search for these signs of spring!
Citizen Science: Salamander Reporting
"Wisconsin's secretive salamanders spend most of their lives on land hidden under leaf litter, logs and rocks. They return to fishless aquatic habitats only for breeding, so you may see them crossing roads in the coming weeks to reach breeding ponds. The first warm, spring rains or thunderstorms are usually their trigger to head to their breeding habitats. And it's not just salamanders crossing the road on these rainy nights, it's frogs, too!
Help us save these amphibians by reporting roads where you see them crossing or dead on the road. This helps us identify important crossings so we can mitigate the impacts of road mortality on these species, as well as on snakes and lizards that like to bask on warm roadways during cold days."
Report road crossings using this form!
Leave the Leaves!
Does Spring fever leave you tempted to clean out your gardens and landscape? Please wait! By leaving last year's leaves and growth on the ground until temperatures consistently are around 50 degrees benefits our pollinators! Bees, butterflies and other insects overwinter in dead stems and plants and removing them too early removes the hibernating insects, too! Read more here!
Your Digital Footprint: Data and Energy Use
Music to Save Earth's Songs
Music to Save Earth's Songs is a project sponsored by Oregon State University and is inspired by Kathleen Dean Moore's new book Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World (Counterpoint Press, Feb. 2021). The project features short "Animal Interlude" performances that feature music, spoken word, and sounds from animals. The hope is that these performances can inspire us to protect species from extinction so that we don't lose the wild songs of the earth. You can find all of the "Animal Interludes" on their youtube channel.
Each week, Lisa Swaney (the Planetarium Director) will share some fun opportunities here!
Interested in becoming a more avid stargazer? Attached are a few helpful tools to get you started on this journey. First is a monthly printable sky map that shows you the position of the major stars and constellations each month. Three editions of this map exist- one for northern-hemisphere observers, one for observers that live near the equator, and one for southern hemisphere observers. These maps help start anyone at stargazing.
The second tool, which is far more powerful, is the planetarium software called Stellarium. This computer-based software shows a realistic sky, very much like you see with your unaided eye, binoculars or a telescope. Stellarium shows location of the stars and the planets along you to examine the night sky before observing it in person. It is available free for your PC and/or Mac.
Tree Benefit Calculator
Not sure what species of trees are living in your neighborhood? Download the Urban Tree Key to help figure it out!
Virtual Classroom Visits from a Tree Farmer
Two courses this summer on the basics of biotechnology - July 12-16 (maybe in-person) and July 26-30 (virtual). Courses are free and teachers receive a $100/day stipend for attendance.
Stanford NGSS Assessment Project - Free Online Courses
Three, free online courses on assessment in NGSS (applies to WSS) that progressively dig deeper into integration of performance tasks. They are starting now.
UW Madison with Wisconsin Tribes and Native partner organizations have a series of summer sustainable ecology summits. These are free and virtual.
Inspiring Investigations through Citizen Science includes six weekly webinars to provide networking opportunities, meaningful discussion, and inspiration from guest presenters. July 6-Aug 11, 2021
X-STEM Speaker Series for Students - April 20-23
This free virtual conference series takes place at 12pm CT each day from April 20-23 and is designed to showcase diversity and inspire students about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Each session is 45 minutes long.
Step Outside and into Health and Wellness Engagement: Outdoor Classroom Leadership
Harness the benefits of the most interactive instruction possible: learning on school grounds, outside the four walls of the classroom. This workshop is designed for K-8 teachers who are new to conducting class outside and are looking to boost their skills with beginning level resources. Participants learn how to conduct class outside on any type of school grounds (from urban concrete to rural forests) in order to engage and inspire students in learning. Guidelines, rules, safety considerations, resources and handouts will be provided so teachers have everything they need to lead confidently. The class also includes training in Project Learning Tree’s K-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide, and you will receive an e-book version of the PLT guide. You'll also receive a Step Outside kit in the mail for hard copies of resources and supplies for conducting a project-based environmental education product. Cost is $50, register here
Conservation Career Day - Virtual Panels
Please help us spread the word about our virtual Conservation Career Day! We've brought together an exciting group of professionals in four panels: Science & Conservation Biology, Engineering & Technology, Wildlife Veterinary Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Education & Outreach. This online event is held on Zoom and is ideal for families with 7th-12th graders and undergraduate students. Students are invited to pick and choose which panels to attend. Join us on April 18th to discover amazing careers in conservation.