Resources from Environmental Education - 11/19/20
Free Climate and Energy Expo
KEEP is excited to announce a free Energy & Climate Expo. KEEP and its partners bring you resources ideal for inquiry-based, real-world, data-driven explorations for authentic and purposeful learning.
Description: Still searching for digital supplements to your energy or climate unit? Join us virtually in December to preview one or all four of these free online learning resources. We’ll start with a brief tutorial of each platform and its benefits, then allow you time to explore, ask questions, and even register your classroom. Free to Wisconsin schools, with support from KEEP and its partners. Accessible to students learning digitally in the classroom or at-home. Perfect for project-based, STEM, social studies, and/or science classrooms or green clubs.
- Play Cool Choices: December 3, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
- Solar Generation: Data Points of Interest: December 9, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
- Climate at Your Fingertips: An interactive solutions workshop for teachers: December 10, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
- Personal, Uncanned and Consequential: Real data-driven inquiry with students' own utility meters: December 17, 4:00 – 5:00
The Phenology Phorum
Those Darn Squirrels!
Written by EE teacher Laureanna Raymond-Duvernell
I’ve found that people are usually one side of the fence or the other when it comes to squirrels. Me? I love them. They’re tenacious and feisty, especially given their size. Maybe it’s something I aspire to. Or maybe it’s because they’re “fuzzy little geniuses” (see book link at the end!)
When the girls were young, they attended nature preschool at the Schlitz-Audubon Nature Center. It was there that I was introduced to the idea of a “squirrel kitchen”. Beneath a copse of conifers, we would often discover pinecones nibbled down to their stems. This was the handiwork of unseen (and sometimes seen and heard) squirrels getting the seeds out from beneath the scales of the cones.
And while we can find this evidence of squirrel feeding during other times of the year, it is especially striking to find them in the fall and winter, knowing that the squirrels were storing up their reserves for the cold months.
We have plans this week to put up our squirrel twirler once again for winter entertainment (seriously, watch the link), and laughing at many other squirrel obstacle courses videos when we’re stuck inside and it’s dark. Maybe we’ll even convince Peter to help us set one up!
I’ll be reading Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri to laugh along with the grumpy old man who (besides looking like he is DEFINITELY sneezing out coronavirus) tries his hardest to outsmart those fuzzy geniuses. It’s worth sharing with your little geniuses too, in case they need some winter creative inspiration.
Exploring Energy Outdoors - Wind in the World Grades K-3
Professional Development Opportunities
Get support for teaching in your place outside. In this series of chats, we will explore various topics related to outdoor education each month. We will draw on LEAF’s expertise and our network of experienced teachers to host a general Q & A, facilitate meaningful discussions, troubleshoot and share ideas amongst each other, and learn at least one hands-on activity that is easy for students to do outside or remotely. We hope to create a sounding board and idea generation place for educators to handle the emerging COVID-19 conditions.
Many schools have pivoted to outdoor learning as a safe alternative to being indoors- but colder temperatures don’t have to mean classes should head back inside! Hear from seasoned educators from forest preschools and outdoor learning centers as they discuss their go-to activities for keeping students warm and ready to learn! Panelists will share how they create and use outdoor spaces in the winter; provide gear recommendations; and discuss how they meet COVID-19 guidelines for safety.
EE Teacher Book Pick
Enjoy this book recommendation from EE teacher Lynn Parkhurst!
I found the book The Forever Tree quite by accident, and fell in love with the message instantly. The idea that a tree is a soulful, living thing to be protected, all at once a home to animals...a living backdrop to gatherings....a living playground for children and a living being that’s cherished by all ages is one I’ve always held. It reminds me of a tree I once loved as a child. I hope you enjoy Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas’ tale about a REAL elm tree in our neck of the woods, one that has a 2nd life as Tom’s Treehouse at Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, WI.
Hear from the Experts - WDNR Forestry Lecture Series: Caring for Our Public Forests
LEAF and the WDNR are partnering to offer forestry talks. The next one is Caring for our Public Forests. Here is what they say about the opportunity:
"Join LEAF staff and DNR experts over your lunch-hour as we explore different topics in the world of forestry. Each online session will provide background content about the day’s scheduled forestry topic, mention career pathways for students, and allow question and answer time for participants to interact with the presenter. The public places myriad demands on our public (county, state and national) forests. Let’s explore how foresters care for our public forests to provide for social, economic and ecological needs. Learn how foresters balance multiple use management on these lands with timber harvests to meet other goals such as wildlife habitat and recreational purposes. We will focus on the management of the Flambeau River State Forest on its 90th anniversary this year!"
Waukesha Colleges Science & Engineering Fair
All secondary students are invited to participate in the Waukesha Colleges Science & Engineering Fair on February 27, 2021. The event will be fully virtual with the opportunity for students to present their projects via zoom. The virtual fair procedures are outlined at this link.
Moving in Nature
Each week, Lisa Swaney (the Planetarium Director) will share some fun opportunities here!
NASA Space Place Art Challenge! Here is a space-related monthly art challenge for all those young creative minds. Each month a new drawing prompt will be unveiled. Background knowledge and images will be provided to furnish further inspiration. All they need is a paper, art supplies, and an adult helper who can submit their artwork. Every month a few images will be selected and displayed on the Space Place website at the beginning of the next month. Submissions can be done month after month.
NASA is taking remote learning to the Moon! Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest is yet another awe-inspiring and thrilling opportunity for your scholars. All ages and grade levels are welcomed to compete and even a writing template for drafting purposes is provided. Whether you are a formal or informal educator, there are guides that exist to help you prepare for your group’s participation.
Support for Outdoor Learning
To see detailed outdoor learning ideas, check out this slideshow.
To see a flyer that outlines our support offerings this year, check out this link.