EDUCATION FOR PLANET EARTH Summer 2009
Self-Guided Earth Adventures
Teaching Carbon Regulation
Environmental Writing Projects
Making & Using Field Backpacks Collaborating on the US-Mexico Border PM40069238
Issue 85, Summer 2009
Creating Earth Adventures: Self-Guided Programs to Connect Children with Nature by Alan Warner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /3 Humane Education: A Foundation for Connecting with All of Earth’s Inhabitants by Robert S.E. Caine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /9 Teaching Carbon Regulation in the High School Classroom by Bruce Taterka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /14 Environmental Writing Projects: Empowering Students, Documenting the Natural World by Jan D. Wellik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /21 Greening the Elementary Education Curriculum One Course at a Time by Penelope Wong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /24
Field Backpacks: Keeping Track of the Tools of the Trade by Terry Tomasek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /28 Global Green Teaching: EE Collaboration in the US-Mexico Border Region by Jose Marcos-Iga, Kristin Mock and Kristina Erny . . . . . . . . . . . . . /30 Pedal-Power Outreach by Courtney Howard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /34 Making Natural Connections by Susan Pass and Christine Mosley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /38
Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /41 Announcements . . . . . . . . . . . . online at <www.greenteacher.com>
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Editorial Issue 85, Summer 2009 General Editors Tim Grant, Gail Littlejohn
Editorial Assistant John Cooper
Regional Editors Canada Gareth Thomson Alberta (403) 678-0079 Bob Adamson Manitoba (204) 261-7795 Raissa Marks New Brunswick (506) 855-4144 Craig White Newfoundland (709) 834-9806 Steve Daniel Northwest Territories (867) 873-7675 Janet Barlow Nova Scotia (902) 494-7644 Ann Coffey Ontario (613) 746-8668 Susan Hawkins PEI (902) 566-4170 Tina Jory Québec (514) 633-9412 Barbara Hanbridge Saskatchewan (866) 254-3825 Remy Rodden Yukon (867) 667-3675 United States Francine Hutchinson Alabama (256) 236-7942 Karen Schedler Arizona (602) 266-4417 Helen de la Maza California (714) 838-8990 Kary Schumpert Colorado (720) 436-7105 Mary Lou Smith Connecticut (860) 455-0707 Phillip Smith Florida (850) 526-3226 Kim Bailey Georgia (770) 888-2696 Darius Kalvaitus Hawaii (808) 974-7360 Pat Sullivan Illinois (217) 322-2865 Cathy Meyer Indiana (812) 349-2805 Shelene Codner Iowa (319) 404-1942 Laura Downey-Skochdopole Kansas (785) 532-3322 Yvonne Meichtry Kentucky (859) 441-9653 Melanie Spencer Maine (207) 991-1561 Sandra Ryack-Bell Massachusetts (508) 993-6420 Bob Coulter Missouri (314) 442-6737 Emily Lin Nevada (702) 895-2960 Bob Zuber New York (212) 662-6238 Lois Nixon North Carolina (919) 467-6474 Judy Hochadel Ohio (330) 847-8743 Susie Shields Oklahoma (405) 702-5166 Catherine Stephenson Pennsylvania (724) 357-5689 Anne DiMonti Rhode Island (401) 245-7500 Cynthia Carlisle South Carolina (864) 882-3052 Steve Spurger Texas (972) 395-3449 Tim Brown Utah (801) 596-8500 Jen Cirillo Vermont (802) 985-0331 Dennis Yockers Wisconsin (715) 346-4943 Board of Directors Judith Benson (SK), Pat Clarke (BC), Cam Collyer (Ont.), Tim Grant (Ont.), Gail Littlejohn (Ont.), Monika Thoma-Petit (Qué.), Della Webster (NB) Green Teacher is a nonprofit organization incorporated in Canada. Design and Production Cover illustration by James Paterson; cover design by Michael Kelley; printing by General Printers, Oshawa, Ontario, on acid-free paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance. This issue is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Contact Us 95 Robert Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2K5, Canada Tel: (416) 960-1244 Fax: (416) 925-3474 email@example.com www.greenteacher.com U.S. address: PO Box 452, Niagara Falls, NY 14304
ost of us attend conferences each year to soak up new ideas, learn about educational resources useful in our work and meet people with similar interests — usually people working in our own state or province. So it was a great departure for us to attend the Fifth World Environmental Education Congress in Montréal in May. With its 2,000 participants representing 120 countries, this international gathering provided rare opportunities to learn about extraordinary educational efforts around the globe. We asked some of the attendees what most inspired them, and here are a few of their accounts. Dressed in burgundy blazers, three pre-teens from Eiffel Flats Primary School in Zimbabwe articulately explained that climate change is exacerbating drought in their region. Their town depends on a mine for its livelihood, but the operation of that mine was contaminating local water, a precious resource any time but especially in drought conditions. They talked convincingly to the mine manager and succeeded in having the company change some of its practices. Educators from Armenia explained that in their authoritarian society, “speaking out” is risky for most adults. In response, kids decided to hone their artistic talents and their skills of persuasion in making videos of their environmental project work, rightly sensing that this would be a safe forum for their views. When a ten-year-old girl in southern India learned about the concept of ecological footprints, she suggested ecological “handprints” as a metaphor for the positive impacts people can have on the planet. The Centre for Environmental Education in India is currently championing her idea through a national campaign entitled “Increase Your Handprint, Decrease Your Footprint,” encouraging people to take action to move their communities towards sustainability. Presentations by Taiwanese educators gave attendees a glimpse of the hotbed of environmental education in that island state. The very active Chinese Association for Environmental Education draws 600 participants to its annual conferences, publishes a respected academic journal and has just launched a magazine for practitioners. Over 3,000 schools participate in the island’s Green Schools program, and thousands of teachers share their most successful learning activities in the program’s online forum. One result of the thousands of face-to-face contacts made during the World Congress was a videoconference on World Environment Day (June 9) that brought a group of high school students in Sudbury, Ontario, together with their peers in Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Ahmadabad to discuss how climate change has affected and will affect their areas. By sharing directly in this manner, students can associate climate change with real people and understand its impacts more vividly and personally. At a conference as large and multilingual as the World Congress, there were plenty of opportunities for miscommunication; but in the rich exchanges taking place in the hundreds of workshops and panel presentations, one could feel the world getting smaller. Taken as a whole, the Congress gave us an encouraging vision of a world in which more and more of us speak a common language and are able and willing to search deeply for effective solutions to vexing problems. — Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn, Co-editors
Thanks to those who shared Congress anecdotes: Sue Bumphous, Cam Collyer, Garry Enns, Chuck Hopkins, Elise Maltin, Carole Marcoux, Barb McKean, Susana Padua, Brijpal Patel, Connie Russell, Yvonne Su, Merebeth Switzer, Leonardo Vianna, Peta White. We regret that we could not include them all.
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Creating Earth Adventures:
Janet Barlow/Sense of Wonder
Self-Guided Programs to Connect Children with Nature
by Alan Warner
roviding children with opportunities to develop connections with nature is a task that grows in importance with each passing year. However, as governments, school boards and non-governmental organizations struggle with tight budgets, the resources to lead these programs can be jeopardized. After 15 years of programming at the Halifax Regional Adventure Earth Centre, we had reached our limit. Our staff could offer only so much and we were nowhere near satisfying the demand for our services. We tried new strategies for providing environmental education resources to teachers and parents: we recommended resource books describing engaging nature activities for children; we pointed to trail guides giving ideas on where to do these activities. Teachers and parents would nod at our recommendations, yet rarely did they pursue them. They simply did not have the expertise or the time to read the
activity books, figure out what would work best with their groups, and then find the place to do the activities. While many educators and parents see the value of spending time with children in the outdoors, there is a gap between having good activity ideas and putting them together in a programmatic way. Our solution was to create trail-specific, self-guided nature experiences, called Earth Adventures, that describe exactly what to do and how. These were published in a guide called Earth Adventures â€” 24 Nature Trails for Fun and Discovery in the Halifax Region,1 and subsequent Earth Adventures have been created for trails in Moncton, New Brunswick, and in various national parks. An Earth Adventure is a self-guided program with potential for application in any natural setting. The following describes the concept of Earth Adventures and the steps to creating them, based on our experiences and feedback from families and leaders who have used them.
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Earth Adventures are fun, self-guided learning experiences that help participants to appreciate a specific natural area and to understand the connections between that area, their lifestyles and larger environmental issues. These adventures include: • hands-on activities • an engaging storyline with a final discovery • time to reflect in nature • links to local natural history and environmental information • opportunities to work together • suggestions to reduce our environmental impact Each Earth Adventure is a site-specific, sequential program with a storyline and detailed set of activities. The write-up for leaders (see sidebar) includes suggested preparations, directions to the site, instructions for what to do where along the trail, an attractive trail map, illustrations, and background information and tips for follow-up and further adventures. Depending on the ambition and scope of the project, the write-up may take the form of a short handout, brochure, booklet or complete book. In Halifax, we created an extensive series of Earth Adventures for 24 trails, but a pamphlet focusing on one or two trails can reach a great many people if it is distributed through a website and made available at the trailhead. Our Earth Adventures, which are used by youth groups, families and classes, take place on trails ranging from one-half to four kilometers in length and require from one to three hours to complete, depending on the adventure, group and weather conditions.
The integrating storyline An Earth Adventure begins with a storyline that is appealing to the kids and suited to a particular natural setting. The storyline is not a general theme, but a narrative akin to an improvisational play in which the participants take on roles and must accomplish a series of steps (activities) in order to achieve a goal or solve a mystery or problem.2 For example, the storyline of the Earth Adventure “Oh Deer!” was written for a trail through prime deer habitat, a reforested area with clearings and remnants of old farmhouses and stone walls. In this adventure, each child takes on the role of a deer and practices deer survival skills in order to figure out the animal’s needs. In the adventure called “Monster Mania,” kids attend a Monster Training Camp in a local park that has large (“monster”) hemlock trees. They learn skills through various activities and ultimately they earn the right to meet the Master Monster (the largest hemlock tree). Although specific activities are designated along the trail, Page 4
inevitably there is ample room for improvisation. Once the children begin to look at things through the eyes of a deer or a tree monster, they discover and explore in ways that extend far beyond the best laid plans.
Hands-on activities Each Earth Adventure features activities that focus on active exploration in nature using all of the senses. We frequently include activities from books and resources published by the Institute for Earth Education, such as Earthwalks and Sunship Earth,3 as these are well-structured, experiential and focused on immersion in nature. We also frequently draw from Joseph Cornell’s book Sharing Nature with Children.4 Whatever the source, we adapt the activity to the storyline theme and roles. In “Oh Deer!” the children are turned into deer at the start of the trail with the help of a choreographed ritual and magic words. They use their hands and fingers as antlers and wiggle their noses to catch scents. They then sneak up the trail to the first activity spot, hiding behind trees and snorting to warn others if their sharp ears or sensitive noses sense any hint of trouble (the leader does a snort first if need be). They proceed to a small overgrown clearing of a former homesite, where their task is to scavenge about to see how many types of deer food they can find from a list in the activity write-up. They explore the homestead and discover many other things in the process. Ultimately they are asked to guess one of the prime senses a deer uses to find food (sight). The adventure continues through a series of stops in which the children search for and select sleeping sites for deer, identify nature smells, and play a game of camouflage in which the coyotes try to sneak up on the deer. At the end of the trail, once they have figured out all of the needs and senses, they make a final discovery: they must find a small plaque chained around a tree off the trail. This is used to create a rubbing of the outline of a deer that participants collect as a reward. This small plaque is the only physical piece of infrastructure required for an Earth Adventure. Solitude and reflection in nature are important elements of each Earth Adventure. In “Oh Deer!,” these are integrated into the experience when the children select their deer resting place. They spend a few minutes alone in the resting place, enjoying their spot and writing or drawing in adventure journals that they make at home and bring along for use in each Earth Adventure. For many Earth Adventures, kids work in groups to make one or two simple props out of everyday materials to prepare for the trip. For example, for “Monster Mania,” they make a cardboard picture frame for an observation activity and a noisemaker for a monster dance (a decorated can with pebbles in it). These pre-trip crafts build interest and set the tone for a fun adventure together in nature.
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Illustration by Lois Bearden
What is an Earth Adventure?
Monster Mania: A Hemlock Ravine Adventure
The text and map illustrate the presentation style of an Earth Adventure, particularly the introduction and use of the storyline as a means to link activities in a smooth, intriguing flow.
Distance: 2.7 km return Time: 2.5 hours Trail Info: This is a pleasant walk on smooth trails winding through an old forest of hemlock, spruce and pine.
Let’s Go to Monster Training
Illustration by Lois Bearden
Calling all monsters for Monster Training Camp. Did you know that monsters really aren’t scary? They are friendly and gentle and only act scary for fun. In fact, they’re afraid of people. Meet the giant monsters in Hemlock Ravine and discover the skills you need to be a monster. Put together your own monster outfit as you go. If you’re clever, you’ll meet the Ravine’s oldest and wisest monster. To begin, put on your funniest monster face and give your best monster roar. Now do the Monster March up the trail: 1. Hold your arms out to the sides and let your forearms hang down. 2. Keep your legs far apart and stomp up the trail. 3. Make your monster face and roar as you stomp.
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Janet Barlow/Sense of Wonder
The adventure write-up The storyline, activities and instructions for an Earth Adventure are written up in a simple format. Each write-up has an “Earthworks” box that describes a key ecological concept in the context of the trail storyline and then asks the children to guess the concept. For example, the experience of surviving as a deer, along with the clues in the Earthworks box, help the kids to realize that each creature’s survival in nature depends on its interrelationships with other species. An “Earth Step” box includes tips that encourage environmentally responsible behavior either on the trail or at home. A “Beyond the Adventure” box gives ideas for further exploring the area and includes suggested readings on local history and an eco-pack of activities provided by a community historical society. Background information for leaders includes natural history tidbits, such as a description of how deer behave when startled and a note about identifying the local mayflowers that deer sometimes eat. Leaders use these extra bits of information in varying ways. Some read the boxes out loud; some introduce the information at teachable moments; others don’t use them at all.
What happens in practice? We have received valuable feedback on our Earth Adventures from several hundred users through our website and from a research project based on in-depth personal interviews and observations of families on the trails.5 Some of our key findings are as follows. • Successful leaders do not need specific expertise in the environment and nature, nor do they need outdoor leadership skills. The key ingredients are enthusiasm for the activities and willingness to play along and join in with Page 6
the children. When an Earth Adventure is introduced with enthusiasm, the children buy into the storyline, sometimes engaging in each activity and sometimes exploring on their own, depending on their ages and inclinations. • The write-up is the start, not the recipe. Leaders cite the diversity of elements, activities and information as strengths of the write-ups. Children often latch onto one part of the adventure, but the aspect of it that they most relate to will change from group to group, and from day to day. One element of an Earth Adventure that is very important to most participants is the conclusion — discovering the plaque. • An Earth Adventure can appeal to a diverse range of children. The prime age range is 5 to 11 years, but children as young as 3 years old can participate in activities. And while the onset of “cool” in early adolescence (12 to 13 years) presents an upper age limit, adolescents can participate by leading trails for younger children. • With school classes, it is important to do an Earth Adventure in small groups of no more than seven or eight students, assigning a volunteer parent or leader to each group. Most activity locations on trails are not suitable for a full class. To manage class groups smoothly, one leader can facilitate a large-group activity or game at the trailhead while the sub-groups start the trail in a staggered sequence. At the end, a second activity may be provided for the earlier groups who are waiting for the later groups to finish. Volunteer leaders can be given the detailed write-up ahead of time to help them prepare.
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Steps in designing an Earth Adventure Designing a successful Earth Adventure takes expertise in program design and environmental education, as well as creativity, writing skills and attention to detail. If it is done well, the result will be a resource that can be used by many people over time. It is relatively easy to acquire grants for designing such a program because active environmental learning and healthy physical activity are priorities in most communities. Additionally, funding agencies are often eager to support projects that require one-time investments and have few ongoing costs.
Children are typically not fond of long hikes, yet they do like to move forward and explore what is around the next corner. An Earth Adventure helps children to explore and connect with a small portion of a natural area, rather than covering a lot of ground. Our trails average between two and three kilometers. Loops are preferable to linear routes, although sometimes the trail layout requires backtracking, which can be programmed effectively. Note that one does not need a real trail: some of our Earth Adventures involve moving through a combination of paths and open areas in urban parks. The “Wharf Rat Tale” uses the boardwalks of the Halifax waterfront as its context. Although our initial concept was to provide trails in beautiful natural areas that tend to be somewhat removed from large population centers, the Earth Adventures we designed for local parks are the ones that are used most frequently. Once leaders become familiar with the concept in these nearby areas, they often venture to the more distant sites. In many cases, an Earth Adventure helps participants to see a familiar area in new ways. When designing an Earth Adventure, we spend a great deal of time at the outset walking a wide range of trails and park areas to find the spots that are appealing, suitable for activities, and have an appropriate distance from stop to stop. In parks, we try to avoid the most popular thoroughfares because adults and some children can become self-conscious while “playing” if they feel they are being watched by others. Additionally, children like to get off the large pathways and discover the small routes, nooks and crannies of a natural area. However, this preference to get off the beaten track needs to be tempered by an assessment of the environmental fragility of the area. Dense undergrowth off the path can be challenging as it prevents groups from moving around and exploring off trail. At the other extreme, areas with little ecological diversity, such as grass fields, offer fewer interesting exploration opportunities.
Storyline and activity selection Once the area is selected, creating the storyline is the next challenge. Consider the assets of the natural area. What makes it special and worthy of attention? Our storylines frequently have children transform into creatures that are noteworthy in the area (raccoons, herons, ants, rats, etc.) and send them on a quest to solve the creatures’ life problems. We also adapt kids’ interest in fantasy stories and quests to suit the natural setting. Trail titles include Treasure Island, Nature Pirates, Wizards and Potions, and the Magician’s
Apprentice; and the problem or quest often ends with the discovery that the magic is in nature. The children discover that the treasure on the island is the island, the potion is the river water, and the magician is the ocean. Other storylines are based on having participants explore the specific attractions of the locale, such as by becoming a rock hound or a young naturalist. It is important to be aware of cultural and gender issues, avoiding stereotyped roles and storylines that may appeal only to either boys or girls. The next step is to identify what the participants need to figure out or discover during the adventure. In “The Stolen Seed Caper,” they are trying to find out how and why the seeds are mysteriously disappearing from the trees, and they get clues for completing each activity along the way. In “Wizards and Potions,” they must figure out how to stop the troll Dreeg (‘greed’ spelled backwards) from polluting the river. As one scouts the area and comes up with a storyline, activity ideas inevitably surface. Although it is not a linear process, we have found it is easier to define the storyline before focusing on the activities, as the storyline tends to produce activity ideas, especially if it is suited to the natural context. Our priority is for activities to involve direct experience using the senses while developing appreciation for the natural area. Every trail requires participants to use at least three senses, and the only writing they do is in their adventure journals. We often use activities that involve children in empathizing with other creatures as well as discovering and appreciating the small things in nature. We watch children playing in a given setting and see what attracts them, and use these attractions as a focus for an activity. We include at least one small-group, nature-themed game on each trail. The kids enjoy the games, and they encourage positive interaction among the group members. We use few props, as they complicate the process for the leaders, but the occasional prop can bring a special element to the adventure. The trail is meant to be a flowing adventure, so we interweave stationary activities
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with activities that occur while moving to the next spot. The trails should be usable all year round, except when there is snow cover, since exploration on the ground is a key to many activities. Visit your trail in different seasons during the design phase and avoid activities that are dependent on seasonal phenomena. Wild roses in bloom may scream out as an attraction in June, but the flowers will not be there for groups at other times of the year. An exposed outcropping is a place to linger in July, but not in November.
Researching and writing the adventure Once the storyline and activities are sketched out, one must research the background information, discover the potential community links and resources, and find the material for the boxes and information tidbits. The write-ups need to be clear, simple, short and fun to read. Ideally they include six to ten activities and are no more than 2,500 words in length. Leaders typically read the steps as they go, and so need explicit directions and have no time for complicated phrasing. Some sections of the text, such as rhymes and magic words, are read aloud, but usually leaders paraphrase the text for the children. Fun illustrations and attractive graphic design add appeal. Finally, there needs to be some introductory information for leaders that briefly explains the purpose, philosophy, safety concerns and leadership approach. The final key to success is pilot testing the Earth Adventure in multiple ways. Give the draft write-up to several people and invite them to follow the trail for the first time. We spent a great deal of time on the trails and worked
hard to describe clearly the directions to get from one place to the next. Yet leaders still struggled because once we had become familiar with the area, we sometimes no longer recognized how many wrong turns one can take. Once the trail is clearly delineated, take different groups of children through the adventure, watch novice leaders with their children, and ask leaders for feedback on the write-up based on their groups’ experiences. The leaders and children can tell you what works. Writing an Earth Adventure takes work, but the result is a set of nature experiences that children, families, youth groups and classes can enjoy and benefit from forever. Alan Warner teaches environmental education in the Recreation Management and Community Development Program at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Notes 1. Alan Warner, Janet Barlow and George Taylor, Earth Adventures — 24 Nature Trails for Fun and Discovery in the Halifax Region, 2nd edition, 2006, illustrated by Lois Bearden. The book models a wide range of storylines and a multitude of activities. Visit <www.earthed.ns.ca/ea_halifax> for a more detailed description and ordering information. 2. For background on the storyline concept, see Creating Worlds, Constructing Meaning: The Scottish Storyline Method by Jeff Cresswell, 1997. Order from <www.storyline.org>. 3. Institute for Earth Education, Earthwalks and Sunship Earth, <www. eartheducation.org>. 4. Joseph Cornell, Sharing Nature with Children, <www.sharingnature.com>. 5. The research is described in detail in Jen Morse’s master’s thesis, “An Exploration of the ‘Family Learning Together’ Approach to Environmental Education,” Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2004.
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Illustrations: Tom Goldsmith
A Foundation for Connecting with All of Earthâ€™s Inhabitants
by Robert S. E. Caine
any people are unaware of the farreaching implications of humane education â€” and may oversimplify this area of study to confine its teaching to responsible pet care and the spaying and neutering of domestic pets. However, the responsible care of domestic animals is only a fraction of the whole tapestry of humane education and all the topics and issues inherent to the field. Humane educators advocate for and encourage values of compassion, empathy, respect, kindness and positive regard towards all living beings â€” human and non-human alike. Humane education encompasses sets of knowledge for transforming our society from a state of violence, chaos and fragmentation towards one of peace, tranquility and harmony,1 and for connecting humans with one another, and with non-human animals and the natural world, in more cooperative and convivial ways.
The essence of humane education is to find ways of relating to nature, to non-human animals and to each other that are nurturing, supportive and positive. Concretely, this leading-edge curriculum promotes the transformation of attitudes, beliefs and behaviours regarding our connection with the environment, with other species and with fellow humans in the direction of humane values. One method for invoking humane relatedness is to remind people of the profound similarities between human and non-human experiences. If we can empathize with the experiences of other living beings and place ourselves in the shoes (or paws, claws, fins) of a suffering other, we can begin to develop compassion for this other. This is an opportunity to teach young people not only the importance of respecting all of life, but also the connections that we humans share with our fellow Earthlings. Just as students need to be taught history, geography, arithmetic and writing skills, they also need to be taught
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— specifically, nature is viewed as natural resources for about kindness. People need to understand the needs and human consumption. desires of all living beings before they are able to appreciate One of the primary objectives of humane education is that non-human animals also have the potential for suffering, to deliver a message of planetary care that is inclusive of all for experiencing pain, and for feeling love and companionship. of Earth’s inhabitants, but this does not mean that we ought For environmental educators, humane education can to eliminate present-day curricula entirely. Rather, we must serve as a complementary pedagogical framework for find new ways to teach core curricula that permit and infuse supporting environmental protection, sustainability and more humane ways of relating to nature. Any teacher can advocacy; both fields share objectives for creating a healthier serve as a humane educator by integrating humane values environment and less exploitative ways for humankind to and lessons throughout the current core curricula. Someco-exist with nature. Providing environmental education times, this requires only minor alterations in lesson plans. through a humane perspective allows us to evoke a more For example, during a mathcompassionate and empathic ematics lesson on percentages, society starting with the next the teacher may introduce some generation. If we can realize Providing environmental education facts about the rate of extinction our connection with the otherthrough a humane perspective of a species and provide data on than-human life forms as fellow allows us to evoke a more compassionate the numbers of animals killed Earth residents, we can begin each year in various geographito acknowledge our similarities and empathic society. cal regions due to hunting, and shared needs as a body of agricultural expansion or diverse species. disease. Then, students can figure out how many members of a given species still exist and the percentage of the popuIntegrating humane values into curricula lation that has died each year or over a period of several It is especially crucial for younger students to learn about years. Students may even predict, assuming that current our interconnectivity with nature, since opinions, beliefs mortality rates remaining unchanged, when a given species and character are formed at a very young age. Although may cease to exist altogether. Such a reality-based math anyone at any age can learn more humane ways of living, lesson may also prompt a class discussion of the numerous young children are far more flexible in their habits, attiways humans contribute to species extinction. tudes and behaviours.2 Teaching these younger students Any academic subject remains open to integrating about our inter-relatedness, interconnectivity and interdenon-human-centered positions. For example, within an pendence with the natural world provides them a chance to elementary setting, reading and writing activities could be examine critically how they may relate to nature in more approached from this standpoint. When reading stories that sympathetic ways. include non-human animals, students can be asked to reflect Elizabeth Gredley proposes that humane education upon the feelings, thoughts and experiences of the animals needs to be integrated throughout the learning journey and and to draw parallels with their own feelings, thoughts and across the curriculum to encompass the learning environment experiences. Students can also write creative essays from in any and all ways that bring about humane objectives. She the perspective of a non-human animal and can then comasserts that children who are kinder toward animals tend pare and contrast how the story, perspective and outcome to be kinder toward fellow humans.3 In this sense, the field might vary if the characters were human. These activities endeavours to facilitate what many people would think of as serve to introduce children to the idea that other species good sense: being kind to others. That said, humane educaundergo physical, psychological and emotional experiences tion is not a discrete scholastic subject such as math, science very similar to our own. or history: teaching humaneness and humane values is more Within secondary schools, geography teachers can simiabout process and pedagogy. Educators need to realize that larly infuse humane perspectives into existent curricula by the values grounded in humane education — respect, kindexamining environmental issues from both human and nonness, empathy, compassion, integrity, positive regard — flow human perspectives. In history lessons, students may invesacross the curriculum and may be easily integrated into all tigate the legacy of human interaction with other species and core subjects. how humans have contributed to the demise of other species. Current pedagogy and curricular design throughout The post-secondary setting remains open to even broader scholastic and academic environments are based upon integration of non-anthropocentric views. Philosophy courses, anthropocentric paradigms.4 Students are taught about the in particular, can serve as ideal venues for introducing and world from a perspective of how it can serve their needs. discussing issues of animal exploitation and animal liberation. Economics, career building and monetary success are Debates and in-depth discussions need to be permitted stressed as motivations for studying hard, staying in school whereby students can contemplate our speciesist ways of and establishing oneself as a productive member of the relating to, thinking about and living alongside other species. community.5 Throughout curricula, references to the natural Humane education, as with other anti-oppression paraworld, other species’ needs and our role as caretakers of the digms — women’s rights, civil rights, gay and lesbian rights environment and the biosphere are practically non-existent. — will take time to catch on and become integrated into the Rather than invoking standards of caring for nature, tradimainstream. The process of change can be excruciatingly tional environmental education often prescribes stewarding, prolonged, but that is no reason to give up. As we have seen managing and controlling nature for the sake of humankind in other movements, persistence and perseverance are part of Page 10
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the territory for accepting the challenge of creating a more humane world. To begin facilitating students’ learning of humane values, we need to introduce an integrated program throughout curricula that allows both educators and learners to become acquainted with more humane ways of thinking and relating. The following activities serve as springboards for developing empathic feelings for other species. These activities also provide concrete classroom examples that demonstrate the dynamics and creativity inherent to humane education. As educators become more familiar with non-speciesist ways of thinking and teaching, they may engage in brainstorming sessions to conjure more expansive lessons and activities for introducing and sustaining non-anthropocentric curricula and kinder, more humane classroom environments.
Theory into practice
Activity 1: Discovering Empathy for Non-Human Animals Grade levels: 6–12 Overview: The main purpose of this activity is to allow students the opportunity to discover and develop a sense of how any given non-human animal may feel. The intent is to allow students to tap into feelings, thoughts and experiences of their own and translate these events for how they believe other species may feel, think and/or experience given events. We want our students to develop empathy for the pain, suffering, joy, love, and a variety of other experiences of other living beings. Materials: Open classroom with ample space for students to sit in a large circle. Optional: Coloured construction paper, crayons or markers, popsicle sticks, glue or tape, paper cut into 2” x 2” pieces, a hat. Procedure: 1. Cut paper into 2” x 2” pieces. Brainstorm the names of as many animal species as there are students in the classroom (this can be done as one large group). Write the name of one animal species on each piece of paper. Place all papers into a hat and have students randomly choose one piece of paper each.
students read the list from the chart paper. 4. Begin a discussion about the animals’ characteristics and prompt students to reflect on what they share with these animals. The idea is to discover the many similarities between human experiences and those of other species. 5. Closure: Engage students in a discussion about what they learned about other species, and what they may have learned about themselves. Encourage students to brainstorm various times in their lives when they experienced such emotions as sadness, joy, love, kindness, generosity and anger. Prompt students to ponder these past emotional experiences and whether other any animal species may experience similar emotions.
2. Arrange students in a large circle. Instruct them to remain silent for one minute, allowing them time to think about the characteristics, physical appearance, habitats and eating habits of their animal.
Example: Student’s statement: “I feel hurt when others laugh at me.” Prompt: “Do you think other animal species ever feel hurt? When? Why?”
Optional: After one minute of silence, distribute coloured construction paper, one popsicle stick per student, crayons or markers, and glue. Instruct students to create a mask of their animal, gluing the stick to the bottom of the mask as a way to hold it in front of their face.
It is important to ensure that students understand key ideas such as the following:
3. Give each student a chance to discuss their animal’s characteristics. The teacher may write these characteristics on a large sheet of chart paper at the front of the room. After all students have discussed their animals, have a few
• Both humans and non-human animals are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. • Both humans and non-human animals have family and friends/community members. • Both humans and non-human animals experience anger, sadness, loss, joy and love.
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3. After each student has provided an animal name, have the class (or small groups) brainstorm ways that humans harm or exploit other species. 4. Next, have the class (or groups) think of ways that we, as humans, can provide a more humane and less exploitative environment for each animal species listed on the chart paper. The recorder writes the ideas next to the appropriate names of animal species. Optional: If students are in small groups, have all groups join in one large circle to share their findings after the brainstorming session. This dynamic serves as an excellent vehicle for students to check to see how their ways of thinking are similar or different from those of their peers. Remind students that all perspectives need to be heard and to guard against intolerance of differing views.
The teacher may wish to display the animal masks (if made) and the chart of characteristics in the classroom as a reminder of the activity and key messages learned.
Activity 2: “How May We Help You?” Grade levels: 7 and higher Overview: In this activity, students have a chance to think about ways in which humans harm other species (e.g., food production, medical experimentation, cosmetic toxicity testing, hunting). Through brainstorming and group discussion, students engage in critical thinking, speaking, and sharing ideas about alternative humane ways of relating to other species. An arena of respect and tolerance of others’ perspectives needs to be maintained as controversial and contentious topics may surface. It is essential that all perspectives are heard and that students have opportunities to give reasons for why they believe in their point of view.
5. Closure: As a closure and debriefing, facilitate a discussion about what the class has brainstormed. It is critical to allow all perspectives and belief systems to surface. Even those who do not adhere to an “animal liberationist” view need to be given opportunity to express their opinions; from such sharing, critical and respectful discussions and debates can ensue. Extension: Students may write a one-page essay discussing any given species. This essay should explore the exploitation of that species by humans, and offer possible humane alternatives to this treatment.
Activity 3: “I am like a rabbit because...” Grade levels: K–5 Overview: This activity permits students an opportunity to find characteristics they may share with other species. Students engage in brainstorming, comparative analysis, speaking and reflection. Students also have opportunity to work independently and within small groups.
Materials: Space for students to sit in a large circle (grades 7 through 9) or in small groups of 4 or 5 (grades 10 and up), several pieces of large chart paper, coloured markers
Materials: Open classroom with ample space for students to sit in a large circle, large chart paper (several pieces may be needed), coloured markers.
Procedure: 1. Select one student to be the questioner (or if using small groups, one student per group) and another student (or the teacher) as the recorder. The questioner and recorder stand at the front of the room with a large chart paper posted for all to view. The remainder of the class sits in a large circle (one large group is ideal for younger students, but small groups of four or five work better for older students since more mature students are usually better equipped to express their ideas about such topics.)
Procedure: 1. Ask students to think of any animal species with whom they believe they share common characteristic(s). For example, one student may say, “I am like a rabbit because I like to hop.” Another example: “I am like an elephant because elephants are family-oriented and I enjoy spending time with my family.” If necessary, for younger students, the teacher may initiate the activity by having the whole class brainstorm names of animals; the teacher may write the animal names on the front board as a reference for students to use.
2. Have each student, one at a time, name an animal. The writer records the name on the chart paper, leaving space for ideas about how we may help this animal survive and thrive without suffering and exploitation. Page 12
2. Divide the class into small groups of four or five. Give each group one large chart paper and enough markers so that each group member has a different colour of marker.
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3. Instruct each group to write the group members’ names on the paper. Below their names, they write the names of their chosen animal species. For example:
Jennifer Jonathan Mouse Rabbit
4. Have each small group list as many characteristics as they can think of for each animal. 5. Ask each student to use her/his coloured marker to underline all the characteristics written on the chart paper (of all the animal species) that they believe they also possess. 6. Have each group present their findings to the class. The teacher may wish to facilitate this in order to confirm student achievement and possibly to expand students’ thinking towards further characteristics that may not have been discussed. 7. Closure: After all groups have presented their findings, debrief the activity by pointing out the many similarities of characteristics among students and animal species. Posters may be displayed in the classroom as a walking-gallery for the class to view. Robert S. E. Caine earned his Ph.D. specializing in Environmental and Humane Education and Environmental
Philosophy from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, where he remains highly dedicated in educating for compassion, empathy, and respect towards non-human animals. Notes 1. Z. Weil and R. Sikora (Eds.), Sowing Seeds Workbook: A Humane Education Primer, Center for Compassionate Living, 1999. 2. J.W. Vander Zanden, Human Development. (4th ed), McGraw Hill, 1989. 3. E. Gredley, “Violence Link Research and Humane Education,” The Humane Educator, Spring/Summer 1999, pp. 1, 3. 4. David Orr, Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect, Island Press, 1994. 5. E. O’Sullivan, Transformative Learning. Educational Vision for the 21st Century, University of Toronto Press, 2001. Other references Pike, G. “A Tapestry in the Making: The Strands of Global Education.” In T. Goldstein and D. Selby (Eds.), Weaving Connections. Sumach Press, 2000, pp. 218-241. Selby, D. Earthkind. Trentham Books, 1995. Selby, D. “The Signature of the Whole: Radical Interconnectedness and its Implications for Global and Environmental Education.” Connections 25:1 Fall 2000, pp. 16-25. Singer, P. “All Animals Are Equal.” In Zimmerman, M.E. et al., (Eds.). Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, 1998, pp. 26-40. Weil, Z. “Preventing Violence through Humane Education.” The Ellsworth American, June 10, 1999.
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Photos: Bruce Taterka
Teaching Carbon Regulation in the High School Classroom by Bruce Taterka
Proposed carbon-regulation systems
he Earth’s climate is warming, and across the world, governments are taking action to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. In the United States, President Obama has identified climate change as “one of the greatest challenges of our generation.” Prime Minister Harper of Canada, while taking a cautious approach to climate change legislation, has indicated a strong interest in joining with the Obama administration on crafting a global solution. But how will we tackle the issue of climate change on a global scale? Possible solutions range from passing laws, to “geoengineering” a cooler Earth, to storing carbon dioxide deep underground. Currently, there are two primary mechanisms being considered to reduce CO2 emissions: a “cap-and-trade” system and a carbon tax. But how do these systems work? What are their economic impacts? And how do you teach them in the high school classroom? This article presents a classroom activity in which teams of students play the roles of utility companies who must reduce CO2 emissions at their coal-burning power plants under different regulatory regimes: traditional “command-and-control” legislation, a carbon tax program, and a “cap-and-trade” system. By actually having to “operate” a power plant under these programs, students learn how they work and the advantages and benefits of each system. Page 14
Carbon Tax: A carbon tax is perhaps the simplest system for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A tax is placed upon the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, in an amount proportional to the carbon content of the fuel. The tax could be imposed at any point in the life cycle of the fuel, from the time the fuel is extracted from the earth to the time when it is burned. Carbon taxes have been enacted in certain European countries in the 1990s, and British Columbia proposed a carbon tax in 2008. While the carbon tax is a simple system to administer, it carries the stigma of being yet another tax and may be difficult for some politicians to support without destroying their careers. Cap and Trade: An alternative to a carbon tax is a cap-andtrade system. The primary advantage of the cap-and-trade system is that it uses a market-based approach, which allows polluters to decide the most efficient way to reduce pollution. The disadvantage of a cap-and-trade system is that it requires a carbon market to be established, replete with brokers and a carbon exchange to facilitate the flow of information and the trading of carbon credits. In addition, the government must decide at the outset who owns, and therefore is entitled to payment for, the right to pollute: should the existing carbon emitters be capped at current levels without
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charge, or should they have to pay? And if they do have to pay, who gets the money? Regardless of the details of the cap-and-trade program, it begins with the government’s setting an overall cap on emissions. Plants that can achieve excess reductions earn pollution “credits” they can sell to plants that cannot efficiently reduce emissions. This allows reductions to be achieved at the lowest possible cost. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a successful cap-and-trade system in the 1990s to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions and acid rain in the United States. The EPA Acid Rain program is often cited as evidence that cap and trade is more effective and efficient than other means of pollution control. Today, cap and trade seems to be the favored mechanism to reduce CO2 and fight climate change. In 2005 the European Union initiated the first large-scale system of CO2 regulation by means of cap and trade. In the United States, ten northeastern and mid-Atlantic states formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce CO2 through a cap-andtrade system, and seven western states and four Canadian provinces have formed the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional cap-and-trade system to reduce CO2. Command and Control: Both cap-and-trade regulation and carbon taxation differ from traditional “command-and-control” regulation. In command and control, the government specifies the mechanism all polluters must use to reduce emissions. For example, a government might require a specific type of scrubber to be installed at every power plant. The problem with this approach is that the scrubber might not be cost-effective at every plant, and plant operators are forced to conform to a one-size-fits-all approach.
This simulation is designed to model command-and-control regulation, cap-and-trade regulation and carbon taxation. Teams of students play the role of utility companies who must reduce CO2 emissions at their coal-burning power plants. One team plays the role of Carbon Broker, to facilitate trading among the companies under cap-and-trade and collect taxes under the carbon tax system. The teacher plays the role of the North American Greenhouse Gas Initiative (NAGGI), a hypothetical US-Canada partnership created to jointly regulate CO2 in the future. The simulation takes place in three rounds, the first simulating command and control, the second simulating a carbon tax, and the third simulating cap and trade. Prior to conducting the simulation, the teacher may want to introduce the students to the concepts of carbon taxation and command-and-control and cap-and-trade regulation. The following are useful resources for this introduction: Carbon Tax Center: <www.carbontax.org/issues/carbontaxes-vs-cap-and-trade/> USEPA Cap-and-Trade information: <http://www.epa.gov/ airmarkt/cap-trade/index.html> Environmental Defense Fund video “How Cap and Trade Works”: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKT_ac4LPkU>
Materials: CO2 Emissions Reductions Worksheets, CO2 Offset Contracts, and “Tech Specs” handouts for each power plant (see pages 18-20). NOTE: Due to space limitations, one sample “Tech Specs” handout is shown here; Tech Specs handouts for all six companies in the game can be downloaded at <www.greenteacher.com>. Follow the link to the “contents” of Green Teacher issue 85. Setup: The simulation runs best with six teams of two to five students playing the roles of the six power companies. Each team should be provided with the Tech Specs for their plant and a CO2 Emissions Reduction Worksheet. One group of about two students should play the role of the Carbon Brokers/Tax Collectors. It is best to choose outgoing, energetic students for this role, as they are tasked with facilitating trading among the teams during the cap-andtrade simulation. The Carbon Brokers should be provided with about ten copies of the Emissions Offset Contract. The teacher should explain to the students that while the US and Canada do not currently have an international agreement on regulating CO2, this simulation assumes that they have jointly created the North American Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“NAGGI”) to combat climate change. The teacher plays the role of NAGGI in the simulation. The teacher should also explain that for the purposes of the simulation the exchange rate for Canadian and US dollars is assumed to be one to one, but that in reality the utilities and traders would have to consider shifting exchange rates on a regular basis. The simulation itself can be run in 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the grade level of the students and the amount of time devoted to discussion. Rounds 1 (command and control) and 2 (carbon tax) generally proceed in about 5 to 10 minutes each, as students begin to grasp the concepts and their roles. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes should be devoted to Round 3 (cap and trade). Round 1: Command and Control In Round 1, the teacher, playing the role of NAGGI, implements command-and-control regulation by ordering each company to reduce emissions at its plant by installing a High-Tech Smokestack Scrubber (“HTSS”). The teacher should explain that according to NAGGI scientists and engineers, HTSS is expected to cost approximately $50 million at each plant and reduce CO2 emissions 25 percent. Keep in mind that the technology and prices presented in this simulation are hypothetical, but reflect the real dilemma that every plant is different and that a one-size-fits-all approach is not always efficient. Each company should refer to its Tech Specs to determine the cost of HTSS at its plant and the amount of CO2 reductions achieved. Once these figures have been calculated, students can complete the first part of the CO2 Reductions Worksheet. The students playing the role of Carbon Brokers/Tax Collectors should tally up the costs and CO2 reductions at each plant and report to the class the total CO2 reductions achieved and total cost. The students will observe that HTSS is not always as effective as predicted, and sometimes costs significantly more than expected. At the same time, command and control is simple to administer and provides certainty to industry. Furthermore, command and control can be a highly effective means of regulating pollution from
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In Round 2, NAGGI announces that a cap-andtrade system will be used in the US and Canada to reduce CO2 emissions. The teacher should explain that cap and trade works as follows: • Each company must achieve a 25 percent reduction in CO2 emissions. • Each company should refer to its Tech Specs to determine the different emissions reductions strategies available for its plant. • Each company may devise its own strategy to achieve the 25 percent reduction. Most important, in Round 2, under cap-and-trade regulation, companies may earn credits or purchase offsets on the Carbon Trading Exchange: similar sources, such as removing sulfur from diesel fuel. For coal-burning power plants, which are not of uniform age or design, however, command and control would likely not be an efficient means of regulation. The teacher should use this opportunity to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of command-and-control regulation. Round 2 – Carbon Tax At the start of Round 2 the class should start over again, assuming each plant emits 10 million tons of CO2 per year. Do not begin with the levels achieved after Round 1. In Round 2, the teacher, again playing the role of the NAGGI, implements a carbon tax of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide. At the beginning of the round, the teacher announces that each company will have to pay the government $20 for every ton of CO2 emitted at its plant. At this point, the teacher should give each company an opportunity to decide upon the most effective strategy — whether simply to pay the tax on its current emissions of 10 million tons per year or to implement upgrades at its plant to reduce CO2 emissions. Each team should refer to its Tech Specs to determine the cost of upgrades and the CO2 reductions achieved, and complete the second part of the CO2 Reductions Worksheet. After each plant has completed part two of the CO2 Reductions Worksheet, the students playing the role of Tax Collectors should tally up the costs of upgrades, CO2 reductions achieved and taxes paid at each plant, and report the totals to the class. Round 3: Cap and Trade At the start of Round 2 the class should start over again, assuming each plant emits 10 million tons of CO2 per year. Do not begin with the levels achieved after Round 1. Page 16
• If a plant achieves CO2 reductions in excess of 25 percent, it earns a credit for the amount of the excess reductions. • Companies can sell the credits they earn to other companies. Companies who purchase credits may use them to offset emissions at their plant and reach the 25 percent goal. • All buying and selling of credits must go through the Carbon Brokers and be documented with a CO2 Offset Contract. The price paid for credits is determined solely by the companies and the Carbon Brokers. Example: Plant X emits 10 million tons per year (mty). To achieve a 25 percent reduction, Plant X must lower its emissions to 7.5 mty. If Plant X reduces emissions to 6.5 mty, it earns a credit of 1.0 mty. The company can then sell that credit on the Carbon Trading Exchange, and the purchaser can offset 1 mty from its emissions. During Round 2, each company should complete the second part of the CO2 Reductions Worksheet listing technological CO2 reductions, purchase and sale of credits, and final accounting. The students playing the role of Carbon Brokers should tally up the costs and CO2 reductions at each plant, and report to the class the total CO2 reductions achieved and total cost.
Variations on the cap-and-trade simulation To introduce advanced concepts and make the simulation more realistic, the teacher (in the role of the government) may allow offsets to be created and purchased for forestation, energy conservation or renewable energy technology.
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For example, you may allow a company to offset one million tons per year by paying $50 million to the Carbon Brokers for a reforestation project, financing a wind farm or buying compact fluorescent light bulbs. This approach could serve as a springboard into the related subjects of alternative energy and conservation. While alternative energy is still comparatively expensive compared to coal-fired electricity, the teacher could present additional material to illustrate that energy conservation is by far the most efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions. Other variations could include providing each team with a budget that limits the amount they may spend in Round 2. The teacher could instill competition between teams by offering rewards to teams that achieve the greatest efficiencies in terms of CO2 reductions per dollar. Competition could also be encouraged between classes by offering rewards to the class that achieves the greatest overall efficiency in terms of CO2 reductions per dollar.
Economic: What are the economic advantages of each system? the disadvantages? Students should observe that command and control is inflexible, and therefore would not be an efficient mechanism to regulate coal-burning power plants of different ages, sizes, and with different equipment, which is why it is not being considered as an option for carbon regulation. Between a cap-and-trade system and a carbon tax, however, various pros and cons should become apparent. First, the carbon tax is simple to administer, while cap and trade is complex. Both systems provide flexibility for operators to choose the method of compliance. With a carbon tax, a polluter can decide simply to pay the tax or to reduce its taxes by reducing CO2 emissions. In cap and trade, a polluter can comply through reducing emissions or by obtaining credits. In addition, cap and trade allows for compliance by creating carbon-free energy such as wind, solar and nuclear, or even carbon-negative projects such as forestation.
Political: What are the political advantages of each system? the disadvantages? These questions should be considered from various points of view. Polluters are generally hostile to command-and-control regulation because of its cost and inflexibility. Some polluters might favor cap and trade, especially those who may stand to make a profit from selling credits. The environmental community may also support cap and trade, especially if they have an opportunity to participate and drive up the cost of pollution or to demand carbon-free energy. A carbon tax may be favored by industry for its certainty and simplicity. However, the carbon tax carries the stigma of being labeled a “tax,” so implementing it may be political suicide for some politicians.
The students should compare the cost and effectiveness of a carbon tax, cap-and-trade regulation and command-andcontrol regulation. Which one would yield the greatest CO2 emissions? Which one would cost the least? Which one would likely provide the most efficient means of CO2 reduction; that is the greatest CO2 reduction per dollar? Why? Closure activities could take the form of a discussion, an in-class written reaction to the exercise, or a more formal written reflection. Current news reports regarding US and Canadian efforts to implement CO2 regulation are useful in stimulating class discussion and emphasizing the real-world significance of this simulation. News reports are also useful to emphasize the political compromises that will be inevitable in any continental or world-wide solution to climate change. Key questions for students to consider include the following: Practical considerations: Which method is easiest to implement? Which method is most effective? Students should see that a carbon tax is simple, while a cap-and-trade system is complex. Why, then, is cap and trade favored by so many? Students should gain an understanding of the advantages of the “free market” approach offered by cap and trade. Environmental: What are the advantages to the environment of each system? the disadvantages? Students should observe that command and control, while very useful for some forms of pollution, is not an effective means to regulate diverse sources of emissions, such as coal-burning power plants. From an environmental perspective, in both the carbon tax and cap-and-trade systems the government can decide how much to reduce CO2 emissions by how it sets the initial tax rate (in the tax system) or the “cap” (in the cap-and-trade system). Once the target is set, the carbon tax offers the advantage of simplicity, while the cap-andtrade system offers the advantage of efficiency — using the market to find the cheapest way to reduce emissions.
Bruce Taterka teaches IB Environmental Systems and AP Environmental Science at Mendham High School in Mendham, New Jersey. He lives at the Schiff Nature Preserve in Mendham. Resources USEPA Cap-and-Trade information: <www.epa.gov/captrade/> Environment Canada Transboundary Air Issues: <www.ec.gc.ca/cleanairairpur/caol/canus/report/2006canus/c2_e.cfm#s1_1> Environment Canada — Taking action on Climate Change: <www.ec.gc.ca/cc/ default.asp?lang=En&n=18BA6889-1> Carbon Tax Center: <www.carbontax.org/issues/carbon-taxes-vs-cap-andtrade/> USEPA Clean Air Mercury Rule: <www.epa.gov/camr/basic.htm> USEPA Acid Rain Program: <www.epa.gov/acidrain/> Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: <www.rggi.org> Western Climate Initiative: <www.westernclimateinitiative.org/> European Union carbon cap-and-trade system: <http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission/> Environmental Defense video: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKT_ac4LPkU> Obama Energy Plan: <www.barackobama.com/pdf/factsheet_energy_ speech_080308.pdf> Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) is a massive database containing information on the carbon emissions of over 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies worldwide: <www.carma.org> US Energy Information Administration maintains a database of all US commercial electricity generating units: <www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/page/ capacity/existingunits2006.xls>
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TECH SPECS: Giant Power Company Your Plant: Company Name: Giant Power Company Power Plant: Toledo, Ohio Technical Specifications: Capacity: 760MW Fuel: Coal Year Built: 1957 CO2 emissions: 10.0 million tons per year (“10.0 mty”)
NOTE: Due to space limitations, one sample “Tech Specs” handout is shown here; Tech Specs handouts for all six companies in the game can be downloaded at <www.greenteacher.com>. Follow the link to the “contents” of Green Teacher issue 85.
Emissions Reductions Strategies Available to Your Plant: Technology
Cost ($ millions)
High-Tech Smokestack Scrubbers (HTSS)
Low-Tech Smokestack Scrubbers (LTSS)
Switch fuel to coal/ oil blend
Purchase or sell credits MW = Megawatt
Notes HTSS costs $60 million instead of $50 million because the project will require an additional $10 million in modifications to the plant Cannot do both HTSS and LTSS together. Only one type of scrubber may be installed.
? mty = million tons of CO2 per year
Scenario 1: Command-and-Control Regulation The NAGGI requires every coal-burning power plant in the US and Canada to install a High-Technology Smokestack Scrubber (“HTSS”). HTSS is expected to cost approximately $50 million to install (at most plants). HTSS is expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions about 25% (at most plants).
Scenario 2: Cap-and-Trade Regulation NAGGI requires every coal-burning power plant in the US and Canada to achieve a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions, starting from your current level of 10 mty. Each plant may devise its own strategy to achieve the 25% reduction. Failure to achieve a 25% reduction results in huge fines and possible shutdown of the plant. Credits and offsets: If a plant achieves CO2 reductions in excess of 25%, it earns a credit for the amount of the excess reductions. Companies can buy and sell credits on the Carbon Trading Exchange. Purchasers can use credits to offset their annual CO2 emissions to reach the 25% goal. Example: Plant X emits 10 mty. To achieve a 25% emissions reduction, Plant X must lower its emissions to 7.5 mty. If Plant X reduces emissions to 6.5 mty, it earns a credit of 1.0 mty. The company can then sell that credit on the Carbon Trading Exchange, and the purchaser can subtract 1 mty from its annual emissions.
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CO2 Emissions Reductions Worksheet Owner: Plant: Initial Emissions Rate:
million tons per year (mty)
Scenario 1: Command-and-Control Regulation Emissions Reduction:
Scenario 2: Carbon Tax Emissions Reduction:
Cost of Upgrades: $
Carbon Taxes Paid: $
Scenario 3: Cap-and-Trade Regulation A. Technological Reductions at your plant: Technology
Emissions Reduction (mty)
Cost ($ millions)
TOTALS: B. Sales and Purchases of Emissions Offsets Name of Purchaser/ Seller
Offset Sold (mty)
Offset Purchased (mty)
Cost ($ millions)
TOTALS: C. Final Accounting:
(Initial Emissions) – (Technological Reductions) – (Offsets Purchased) + (Offsets Sold) = FINAL EMISSIONS (Cost of Tech. Reductions) + (Cost of Credits Purchased) – (Income from sale of Credits) = TOTAL COST
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EMISSIONS OFFSET CONTRACT This EMISSIONS OFFSET CONTRACT is hereby entered into between ____________________________________________ (“PURCHASER”) and ____________________________________________ (“SELLER”). SELLER hereby promises that through certain technological improvements to its power plant at ____________________________________________ , it has or will earn CO2 Emissions Reduction Credits in sufficient amount to fulfill its obligations under this Contract. PURCHASER hereby agrees to purchase, and SELLER hereby agrees to sell, CO2 Emissions Reductions Credits in the amount of _______________ million tons per year. SELLER shall deliver such CO2 Emissions Reductions Credits to PURCHASER in accordance with the regulations of the North American Greenhouse Gas Initiative within 5 days from the execution of this contract. Upon delivery of said CO2 Emissions Reductions Credits, PURCHASER shall pay to SELLER $__________________________ by wire transfer or certified check.
Signed this ___________ day of ___________ , 20 ______ . SELLER
Name: ___________________________________ Name:_________________________________ Title: ____________________________________ Title:__________________________________
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Environmental Writing Projects:
Photos: Jan Wellik
Empowering Students, Documenting the Natural World
by Jan D. Wellik
o matter where you teach, whether it is in a huge metropolis or a small village, guiding students to explore the natural world in their own community is a powerful way to teach writing. Bringing students outdoors, into their local neighborhoods and parks, helps them to discover their own creative voices and practice observation and writing skills. For teachers interested in multidisciplinary approaches to teaching English and Science in grades 6 to 12, an environmental writing project can help students explore hands-on environmental science and develop literacy skills. Through an environmental writing project, students select a local environmental issue to study, visit the site or sites affected, interview local experts and community members engaged in the issue, and then develop a book or portfolio of writings related to the issue. Some of the writings may be essays and articles based on interviews with environmental professionals, activists and city employees. Nonfiction writing can be combined with nature poetry written by the students about the places they are studying. If you have the funding, a small booklet of the collective student work can be created and displayed in your community to educate others about the issues students are working on.
The goal of the project is to empower the students to play an active role in their community, finding solutions that benefit others, and to act as investigative reporters conducting research and learning how to effectively communicate their findings. An environmental writing project can be used to explore an environmental issue and to extend the learning of a community service event such as a habitat restoration or river clean-up. The project is great training for future environmental journalists, scientists and city workers.
Five steps to an environmental writing project 1. Choose an environmental issue
Many environmental issues overlap with the topics covered in Earth Science and Environmental Science courses. You can begin the project idea by suggesting correlations between environmental issues in your region and subjects covered in class. For example, if the school is near a polluted river or watershed restoration area, this would tie into water cycles and natural resources. Teachers can help choose an environmental topic by encouraging the students to think about what environmental problems they know about in their area. Bring in copies of local newspapers for students to study, and begin with
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brainstorming in class about local environmental issues that the students are interested in studying. These might include water pollution, urban development, loss of habitat, organic farms, water conservation and endangered species. As they brainstorm the issues, list them on the board and have students jot down specific examples in their region that apply to each category. Is there a polluted river near the school? Has a recent drought caused water conservation in town? Are there endangered species in the area that people do not know about or are not protecting properly? Remember to think locally. Selected sites should be within an hourâ€™s drive, as students will be visiting them first hand. All ideas are welcome in a brainstorming session. If the class is large, try breaking it into smaller groups with note takers to record the ideas. By way of a democratic vote or general consensus, let the students come to an agreement on their topic.
2. Select the writing format Ask the students what type of culminating written project they would like to produce about the environmental issue they have selected. Culminating projects may depend on school resources, and a simple collection of student writing stapled together is just as effective as a professionally bound collection. The main point of this step is to determine the type of writing that they want to include in their project. Possibilities include collections of poems, essays, newspaper articles or journal entries, and the choice may depend on the needs of the course. An English class studying essay writing, for example, might focus solely on nonfiction or personal essays for the project. Another class might include both creative writing and nonfiction. This project can be formulated to tie into the forms of writing taught in class, or can expand their learning radius by moving beyond those boundaries. Page 22
3. Conduct community research Now that the students have a focus for the project, they can begin to take action. The first assignment is to start researching the topic. Assign groups with different tasks: one group will research nearby sites where this type of issue is prevalent. Another group will focus on the work currently being done to address the issue â€” what environmental organizations, community groups, scientists, activists and others are doing to solve the problem. A third group will focus on the history of the issue and how it has changed over time.
4. Visit sites
Schedule several class field trips to the sites being researched, if possible. For example if the students are studying local organic farming, choose one or two organic farms to visit nearby. The closer it is to home, the better, so that students learn more about the environment in which they live and the intersection of human and natural life. Allow for at least one to two hours to conduct the site visits. At this point, the students act as scientists and journalists, documenting their observations of the landscape. Prepare the writing assignments in advance in order to allow for the best use of studentsâ€™ time in the field. Students can decide if they will write a poem about the place they are visiting, or record their observations of trash, wildlife, landscape, etc. The following writing prompts will help to guide students on the site visits: Zoom Out: Take in the panoramic view of the site. Using all of your senses, observe the landscape as a whole and write down your observations. Zoom In: Choose one element of the natural world and get closer. Study a plant, bird, tree, rock, etc. in detail, and write your observations.
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Adaptation: Write about how a plant or animal has adapted to this environment. Natural Forces: Pick one of the natural forces that shape the landscape, such as rain, snow, sun, fog or wind, and write about the changes it creates. Human Impact: How have humans impacted this environment?
5. Interview the experts At this point, students have done the onsite research and applied their own creative voices to the project. They are ready to talk to people in the community who are involved with this key environmental issue. As most communities have individuals and organizations working on different sides of local issues, students should try to incorporate multiple viewpoints in the stories they tell. Ask each student to choose a local environmental organization, activist, government worker or politician to interview, either in person or by phone or email. Make sure the students tell their subjects that the interview is for a school project and may be published. Most experts who are passionate about the issue will be eager to talk and share their perspective. Try to interview a diverse range of people who are knowledgeable or personally affected by the environmental issue. Help students prepare interview questions in advance. Here are a few general interview questions that can be made specific to the project’s issue:
• How does this affect the local community? • What can people do to get involved?
Wrap-up The project goal is to give students a chance to learn about their local environment in a historical and educational context and to share their own perspectives as well as those of other community members. Allow them some time to go back to the sites on their own if they have access, as more reflective writing may evolve when they spend time in the place without their peers. The culminating project can be printed and distributed to the class or the entire school, or even presented as an exhibit in the community. Students will gain a new awareness of the local environment, along with a sense of achievement and belief that they can make a positive impact in their local and global community. Jan D. Wellik is Founder and Executive Director of Eco Expressions, a nature writing program for youth. She currently teaches Environmental Science at Platt College in San Diego, California, and is the author of Nature Writing Field Guide for Teachers, which provides writing activities useful for environmental writing projects. It can be ordered online at: <www.EcoExpressions.org>.
• What do you think about this issue? • What kind of work have you done on this project? • How has this landscape changed over time?
See page 48 for details.
• What do you think might happen in the future? Green Teacher 85
Illustrations: Tom Goldsmith
Greening the Elementary Education Curriculum One Course at a Time by Penelope Wong
s a former teacher educator, I felt compelled to prepare future elementary and secondary teachers with the knowledge, skills and resources they would need to address topics that are significant and urgent but might be perceived to be outside their mandated curricular requirements. One such topic was environmental issues. Until fairly recently, there was a conspicuous inattention to environmental topics in the general teacher preparation curriculum. It wasn’t until about five years ago that momentum began to build for the idea of infusing environmental education into the teacher-preparation curriculum by incorporating it into existing courses.1 Perhaps it was with a sense of urgency that all future educators be environmentally literate that the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the accrediting body for pre-service teacher education, partnered with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) to create the Standards for the Initial Preparation of Environmental Educators, which were approved by NCATE in October 2007.2 While this step is welcome, and certainly will result in more teachers being environmentally literate and prepared to teach about such topics, individual teacher educators need not only rely on these standards. NCATE accredits about half of all teacher education programs in the United States. What about non-NCATE accredited teacher preparation programs? What can teacher educators at these institutions do? With thought, preparation and a willingness on the part of the instructor to see one’s course in a new way, any teacher education course has the potential to be green. Page 24
Infusing environmental education topics throughout the teacher-preparation curriculum is not a new idea, but neither is it widely practiced currently. Commonly, environmental topics are embedded in science methods courses, thus perpetuating the idea that environmental issues are primarily the arena of science teachers rather than crosscurricular in nature. Recognizing this problem, I began to explore ways that I could “green” my non-science teacher education courses in language arts methods, reading methods, children’s and adolescent literature, elementary-level fine arts, and special needs/multicultural education. In this article, I will describe how I greened these five very different courses, the topics we explored, learning activities, and some resources I found helpful in this endeavor.
Guiding questions Prior to thinking about how I was going to infuse environmental components or themes into my courses, I composed a list of questions to guide my redesign of each course. These were as follows: 1. What is the purpose of integrating an environmental topic into this course? 2. How will examining an environmental topic or issue in this course impact pre-service teachers’ understanding of the course content in general? 3. What environmental topics and issues naturally lend themselves to incorporation into this course? 4. Am I giving adequate time to the original content and course activities?
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As these questions suggest, the challenge I faced was incorporating environmental content into the courses in a natural way while also addressing the requisite pedagogical topics.
Literature: In studying the traditional genres of literature, such as contemporary fiction and nonfiction, pre-service teachers examined environmental books in these genres and were given the opportunity to write and illustrate their own children’s book centering on an environmental topic. These books were exhibited at a book fair. Additionally, an “extra” genre — environmental literature — was added to the course. Pre-service teachers were made aware of the characteristics of high-quality environmental literature and of awards given to such texts, such as the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.
Greening language arts
Greening fine arts
5. Will incorporating environmental content in this course enhance pre-service teachers’ environmental knowledge in general? Enhance their understanding of specific environmental topics? 6. Will incorporating environmental content in this course help pre-service teachers to teach their students about environmental topics?
I started with the courses in language arts methods, reading methods and children’s literature, which together address three basic skill areas. The language arts methods course teaches future educators the concepts, instructional strategies and learning activities necessary to teach elementary and secondary students how to write, read, speak, listen, visually interpret and represent media images. Topics covered in such a course include handwriting, reading strategies, spelling, writing, public speaking, taking notes, creating multimedia presentations, and listening for information. The reading methods course focuses on how to teach reading skills, from the most elementary (for example, using phonics and decoding text) to more advanced skills such as reading to learn (finding relevant information in a textbook, for example). Finally, the children’s and adolescents’ literature course focuses on familiarizing pre-service teachers with various literary genres and the characteristics of literature.
The goal of the elementary-level fine arts course was to teach pre-service teachers how to integrate the fine arts, specifically music, dance, drama and the visual arts, into a general elementary education curriculum. Initially, it was easier to integrate nature and environmental topics into some of the fine arts than others. For example, nature has long been a source of inspiration for many visual arts, from painting to sculpture, whereas music and dance were subjects where integration was not so obvious. For this course, pre-service teachers were asked to examine how nature has inspired artists, and how each of the arts has portrayed environmental and nature topics. Some of the topics we addressed were as follows. Music: • The role of nature as a source of inspiration for such music as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Aaron Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring.”
Language arts and reading: In teaching writing, I drew on the state content standards for science to find topics that could serve as a basis for descriptive writing (e.g., ecosystems) and process writing (e.g., the water cycle). The science standards were also used to generate topics for teaching reading. For example, if the topic was rainforests, pre-service teachers were asked to look at a range of texts about rainforests at different reading levels. These texts were used to teach lessons on various aspects of literacy, such as phonics, reading comprehension strategies and vocabulary. For listening and speaking skills, pre-service teachers were asked to choose an environmental topic of interest and prepare a short presentation. To ensure that pre-service teachers really understood how the various language arts (i.e., speaking, writing, reading) build on one another, they were required to develop a tenday unit with lesson plans. In the process of completing this task, they also learned about the value of interdisciplinary connections and the importance of research skills. In order to broaden their concept of literacy, they were taught what environmental literacy is and why it is important.
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• The musical elements and principles exhibited by natural sounds, such as birdsongs, running water and rainfall. • The emerging field of biomusicology, which combines musicology and various sciences, such as physics, biology and environmental science. Dance: • Ways in which dance can be used to communicate or express concepts or principles of nature, such as a “water dance” that illustrates the water cycle. Examination of the use of nature to inspire dance by groups such as Pilobolus forced students to re-evaluate their conceptions of what constitutes dance. • How to create dramatic pieces about an environmental topic, ranging from a social action theme (e.g., warning about global warming) to a nature and ecology topic (e.g., how animals of a prairie ecosystem live). Visual arts: • How nature has inspired and been portrayed by visual artists in such genres as landscape painting, and in art movements such as the Hudson River School.
• Specific fine arts, such as watercolor painting, ceramics and Native American sand paintings, which have conceptual and material connections with the environment. • Environmentally friendly art practices, such as using recycled or biodegradable materials. • How the visual arts can be a vehicle for action and advocacy on social justice and environmental issues. While it was easy to identify many connections between the environment and the fine arts, our challenge was deciding which aspects to address, given the time constraints of a single course. In our pre-service course, learning activities included having teachers compose music, dance, dramatic and visual art pieces that centered on a nature or environmental theme and that could be integrated into a content area (language arts, math, science, etc.). Another project that developed from this course was a service-learning project that involved collaborating with a group of special needs high school students to create a “peace and friendship garden” incorporating a variety of outdoor art pieces. (Unfortunately, due to logistical reasons, the plan could not be implemented.)
Resources for Greening Teacher Education Language Arts International Reading Association <www.reading.org>. The “Choices Booklist” includes environmental books, and the publication The Reading Teacher occasionally has articles that feature environmental topics or themes. National Science Teachers Association <www.nsta.org>. Publishes a list of “Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children K-12” each year. Rous, Emma Wood. Literature and the Land: Reading and Writing for Environmental Literacy, 7-12. Heinemann/Boynton Cook, 2000. Teachers Net <http://teachers.net/archive/envirobks.html>. Annotated bibliography of children’s literature with environmental themes.
Elementary Fine Arts Cornett, Claudia E. Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts: An Integration Resource for Classroom Teachers, 3rd Edition. Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall, 2006. An excellent text with numerous ideas about how to integrate the fine arts into the elementary curriculum. Environmental/nature topics are used. Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time. An inspiring and provocative documentary that features the environmental art of Andy Goldsworthy. Recycled, Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap. A stimulating and highly creative documentary that looks at folk art in five countries and how such art is created out of recycled materials ArtsEdge — The National Arts & Education Network <http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/teach/les.cfm>. Works to help educators incorporate arts into the general curriculum by providing free standards-based teaching materials and professional development resources.
Special Education/ Diversity American Institutes for Research. “Effects of Outdoor Education Programs for Children of California.” <www.air.org/news/documents/Outdoorschoolreport.pdf>. Study of the impact of outdoor education programs on at-risk sixth graders. Bullard, Robert, Ed. Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices From the Grassroots. Southend Press, 1993. Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Kids from Nature Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books, 2005. Nabhan, Gary Paul, and Stephen Trimble. The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places. Beacon Press, 1994.
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Special education and student diversity The special needs/multicultural education course focused on teaching pre-service teachers how to instruct students with various cognitive, emotional and physical disabilities. It also looked at various types of diversity, such as diversity of race, gender, religion and language. Unlike the other courses, which were mainly methods courses, this course combined theory and methods. Three topics that were examined were: • the inclusion of special education students in environmental / nature activities • the use of outdoor and environmental activities in helping mitigate some of the symptoms of specific disabilities, such as attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD/ADD). • multicultural issues concerning environmental topics, such as environmental racism. Integrating environmental topics and themes into a variety of teacher education courses was not as difficult as I had initially expected. The bulk of the work concerned decisions on the kinds of lessons and assignments that would be useful for pre-service teachers. As for the student workload, little changed. In language arts, for example, a unit plan is a unit plan, no matter the topic. Therefore, creating an environment-themed unit aligned with state content standards did not demand that pre-service teachers do any work beyond what they would have otherwise been required of them. Greening the teacher education curricula took effort, time and thought, but was extremely satisfying on several
fronts. First, I felt that I was taking a small step in educating future teachers about the necessity of incorporating environmental topics and themes into their curricula. While I did not always teach them how to teach environmental topics, at the very least I raised awareness about the urgency of environmental issues, provided resources, and showed them how they could broach these topics with their students. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, incorporating environmental themes and topics into teacher education courses enabled me to look at these courses from a very different perspective. I was exposed to new topics, such as environmental racism, that I might not have otherwise known about. Examining a practice or body of knowledge that has become “tradition” from a fresh perspective can be very insightful. Penelope Wong is a school designer for Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound in Danville, Kentucky, and was formerly a teacher educator. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a grant provided by the Associated Colleges of the South. Special thanks to Elizabeth MacNabb for providing feedback on drafts of this article. Notes 1. J. Heimlich, J. Braus, B. Olivolo, M. McKeown-Ice and L. Barringer-Smith, “Environmental Education and Pre-service Teacher Preparation: A National Study,” The Journal of Environmental Education, 35:2, 2004, pp. 17-21. 2. National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Standards for the Initial Preparation of Environmental Educators, North American Association for Environmental Education, 2007, <www.ncate.org/ProgramStandards/ NAAEE/NAAEEStandards.pdf>.
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Keeping Track of the Tools of the Trade Making and using child-sized field backpacks for carrying data-collection equipment outdoors
by Terry Tomasek
How I used the field packs
“Oh no, I lost my magnifying glass.” “I left my field guide at our last stop.”
omments like these were common when I took children outside to learn about the local environment. I wanted my students to use scientific equipment, such as magnifiers and field guides, but they kept leaving equipment all over the forest! I decided that I needed a way for them to keep track of their scientific tools as we explored the out-of-doors. I have found that the use of homemade field backpacks is a great way for children to carry data-collection equipment into the outof-doors and return to the classroom with the same equipment. In the following, I share directions for creating homemade drawstring field backpacks for children. The backpacks I made were 12 inches wide and 14 inches long (30 x 35 centimeters) and designed for children who weigh less than 90 pounds, but the size could be varied depending on the age of the students. Most of my backpacks were made from scraps of fabric and cording and cost less than five dollars each. If you do not sew, you might find a parent or grandparent who is willing to make these field backpacks for you. Once you have a classroom set of field backpacks, you no longer have to worry about lost field equipment! Page 28
I aimed to have one field backpack per group of three children. The backpacks contained a magnifier, magnifying bug box, small plastic ruler, handheld net, pencil, data notebook, field guide and a couple of sealable plastic bags. When we found something on our adventure that we wanted to examine more closely, we stopped, opened our field backpacks and then used the appropriate tool. When we were finished, each group of three returned their tools to their field backpack and we moved on — no longer “littering” the forest with our equipment. With the field packs on their backs, the children’s hands were free to hold materials, make tactile observations, or to steady themselves as they walked. The inclusion of an itemized checklist in each backpack made it easy for students to keep track of all of their tools. One backpack was designated as a first-aid pack. It was made of fabric patterned in red crosses, band-aids and other medical images. This bag contained a small package of hand wipes, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, band-aids, tweezers, and several sealable plastic bags for waste disposal. Children took turns wearing the first-aid backpack, so that first-aid materials were available but the teacher did not have an additional item to carry.
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Figure 1: Start sewing 1½" from top. Leave ½" gaps at the bottom corners.
Figure 2: Feed the drawstring through the back casing and then back through the front casing. Join the ends of the drawstring and stitch them into place at the bottom of the pack. (For illustration purposes, the front and back sections have been separated.)
How to make the field packs For the outside of the packs, we used decorative 100-percent cotton fabric that had pictures of various plants and animals. For example, one field backpack was made from a bird-print fabric, another from a fabric with frogs, and a third was made with a fabric that had brightly colored flowers. The backpacks were lined with solid-color cotton fabric. Materials: For each backpack, ½ yard (½ meter) of 44" to 45" wide (1 meter wide) cotton fabric for each part of the pack (e.g., ½ yard of print fabric for the outside and ½ yard of solid-color liner fabric); 3½ yards (3¼ meters) of 3/16" to ⅜" (0.5 to 1.0 cm) washable cording for a drawstring. Procedure: The following steps are for assembling a field backpack that is 12" x 14" (30 x 35 cm): 1. Cut two 13" x 15" (33 x 38 cm) rectangles from decorative fabric (this will be the outside of the pack). Cut two 13" x 15" rectangles from a liner fabric (a solid-color fabric or the same fabric used for the outside of the pack). 2. With the right sides of the two pieces of decorative fabric facing each other, sew the front and back together along the two long sides and across the bottom, leaving a ½" seam allowance. Begin sewing 1½" down from the top of the right side. At the bottom, leave a ½" gap before the bottom seam allowance. Then sew across the bottom. Finally, leaving another ½" gap in stitching on the lower left, sew up the left hand side to 1½" from the top of the left side. (See Figure 1.) These gaps will later accommodate drawstrings to create left and right back straps. Repeat with the liner fabric, but leave a ⅝" seam allowance.
seams close together. The seams of both sections should be facing each other. 5. To create a casing for the drawstring, turn the pressed fold of the top edge of the decorative section to the inside, over the liner, down to the side stitching point. Pin. Continue around the open top edge creating a ½" casing. Sew the casing in place by stitching close to the casing edge through all thicknesses of fabric. 6. To add the drawstring, cut the piece of cording into two sections. Attach a safety pin to one end of the first cord, and work it through the casing across the back section of the pack. Then feed the safety pin and cord through the casing in the front section of the pack so that it emerges on the same side where you began feeding the cord in (see Figure 2). Bring the free ends of the cording together. Insert 1" of the free ends into the ½" gap in the seam at the bottom corner of the pack, on the same side as the cording (see the • in Figure 2). Sew over these free ends several times to secure the drawstrings. 7. Working on the opposite side of the pack, repeat step 6 with the second piece of drawstring. 8. To close the pack, simply grasp the drawstrings on either side of the pack and pull. To open the pack, place your hands inside the top and slide your hands outward. Children wear the backpacks by drawing them closed and then slipping their arms inside the loops made by the drawstrings. Terry Tomasek is an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina.
3. On the decorative section, trim the stitched corners and turn the piece so that the seams are on the inside. Press, turning the open top edge to the inside by ¼". 4. On the liner section, trim the seam allowance all the way around. Trim 1" off of the open top of the liner. Press. Slip the liner into the decorative section. Push the bottom Green Teacher 85
Photos: Left, EE Exchange, Tucson; Right, University of Arizona Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy
EE Collaboration in the US-Mexico Border Region
by Jose Marcos-Iga, Kristin Mock and Kristina Erny
hen asked recently to characterize the environmental educator from the US-Mexico border region, I used the term “Jack or Jill of all trades.” This reflects the reality confronted by many of us in this unique region: as environmental educators, we are also lobbyists, accountants, researchers, international relations specialists, website managers, all-around problem solvers, and, on top of it all, specialists in our own areas of environmental expertise. As a result of environmental problems in the region, people from many different areas of expertise on both sides of the border suddenly find themselves engaged in some form of environmental education, helping others in their communities learn to care about their surrounding environment and empowering them to make a difference. This multidisciplinary scenario is full of advantages since these individuals and organizations bring to the field a unique diversity and richness. At the same time, it makes it difficult to define what environmental education means in the border region, how effective it is, and how to improve it. For this reason, collaboration among individuals and organizations across the border is essential to enhancing EE capacity and creating common ground for the region. Through the years, efforts to improve cross-border collaboration have built on each other and created an informal, yet robust, network of EE professionals that interact, share and collaborate with each other. The environmental issues of the US-Mexico border region are similar to those in other regions around the planet: diminishing air quality, increasing water and energy demands and land pollution are common to all populated
areas. However, the underlying socioeconomic and political circumstances of this region make its environmental issues unique and complex. The North American Free Trade Agreement brought growth opportunities, but also created social and environmental problems. Maquila plants, or maquiladoras, proliferated on the Mexican side of the border, supplying cheap labor for manufacturing products for US-based companies. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 2,700 maquiladoras exist in Mexican border-states and account for about 71 percent of all such factories in Mexico.1 The promise of secure employment at maquiladoras has brought migrants from rural areas all over Mexico to the border region, while others have come with the hope of illegal immigration to the US. This unplanned growth of low-income households along the border has contributed to many of the environmental challenges we see today. Many believe that most of the pollution in the border region comes from the explosive population growth and lack of environmental regulation and enforcement on the Mexican side, which, in turn, affects communities in the US. Others argue that such explosive growth is fueled by the USbased companies who manufacture their products in Mexican maquilas. These complex socioeconomic and political dimensions to the environmental problems along the border have given rise to several collaborative projects between government agencies, such as the EPA-led Border XXI and Border 2012 programs, and a variety of community efforts, such as the Encuentro Fronterizo (“Meeting on the Border Environment”). One of the most significant cross-border collaborations over the last two decades is the Environmental Education
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EE Exchange, Tucson
The first bi-national, bilingual Border-Wide EE Conference, held in Ciudad Juarez in 2008, brought together nearly 100 educators from the US-Mexico border region.
Council for the Californias (EECC), a bi-national network of environmental research, policy, outreach, advocacy and grassroots organizations. The EECC works to advance a culture of sustainability in the California-Baja California region by increasing environmental awareness, understanding and action, and by addressing the economic and social issues surrounding access to environmental education. The Council was created in 1998 from the Environmental Education Blueprint for the Californias, which was born out of the intense desire of the people of the Tijuana/San Diego border area to resolve serious issues of habitat loss, environmental degradation, and deteriorating quality of life in the region. The Blueprint proposed to establish a specialized organization that would direct its efforts toward education on these issues. Capacity-building efforts by the Council have included a program of multi-year mini-grants, bi-national tours, share fairs, workshops, professional development seminars, and the publication of a comprehensive field trip binder for educators of the California-Baja California border region. Members of the EECC have been involved in a number of events important to the region. One of these events, co-hosted in 2003 by the Arizona Association for Environmental Education and the Environmental Education Exchange, was the regional conference “Senderos: Environmental Education in a Multicultural Society.” This event gathered environmental educators from both sides of the border to discuss issues related to diversity in EE. Another landmark was Encuentros Fronterizos, a series of five meetings on the border environment that took place in different locations over a ten-year period. Led by the Proyecto Fronterizo de Educación Ambiental (Environmental Education Border Project) and the Proyecto Bioregional
de Educación Ambiental (Environmental Education Bioregional Project), these multi-day events had a strong EE component and brought together hundreds of conservation and environmental professionals from both sides of the border to explore possible solutions to shared environmental problems. During the last Encuentro, in 2005, participants issued the Rosarito Declaration, which provides a set of strategies for the region to follow in the immediate future. The declaration recognizes that the “border region is in a state of alarming vulnerability derived from the exploding growth, indiscriminate exploitation and contamination of our resources and natural areas, and, in some cases, the privatization of these.” The document also mentions the importance of having “timely access to objective, valid information and to the best science possible,” as well as “support of a critical mass of informed and participative citizens and committed governments” to achieve “real social and environmental justice in our region.” Furthermore, the Declaration states that, “environmental education should be an integral component of work and directed toward all sectors of society, and should include relevant themes of the environment, society and the economy.” One of the organizations represented in the Rosarito Declaration, the Ambos Nogales Revegetation Partnership (ARAN), is another instance of bi-national collaboration through education. ARAN is a joint effort of educational, governmental and non-governmental institutions, business, industry and community members from Nogales, Arizona, in the United States, and Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico, who are dedicated to improving the environmental quality of these rapidly growing border towns by re-establishing native vegetation. ARAN is also a learning community, a
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EE Exchange, Tucson
group of people bringing to their monthly meeting their unique personal experience and taking in return new knowledge and skills. ARAN started three years ago with the formation of a bi-national research team comprised of students from the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona and from the CETIS 128 (Technological Education Center), in Nogales, Sonora. The group later expanded to include representatives of nonprofit groups, governmental agencies and maquiladoras, as well as community leaders from the region. Their initial goal was to assess the environmental problems in the region and develop possible courses of action to improve air and environmental quality. They studied the physical dimension of these environmental challenges (e.g., the level and effects of soil erosion on air quality) as well as the social dimension (e.g., the potential for revegetation efforts within the community). Members of ARAN have been participating in more than one of the regional taskforces created through the Border 2012 Program, a bi-national governmental effort led by the EPA and its Mexican counterpart, SEMARNAT (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources). This program and its predecessor, Border XXI, recognize environmental education as an important tool for the improvement and protection of the border environment, and have supported several networking and capacity-building efforts over the years. In the first half of 2006, SEMARNAT, through its education and training branch (CECADESU), organized an open forum in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with participants from all Mexican border-states offering input on the development of a National Strategy for Environmental Education for Sustainability. Participants arrived at the consensus that there is a need for a border-wide, bi-national EE strategy that deals with the uniqueness of this sociopolitical and environmental setting.
A long-lasting effort supported by the Border 2012 program is the Border EE Web Database, an online, fully searchable, bilingual database of EE resources for the US-Mexico border. The database has been maintained for eight years by the Environmental Education Exchange, with support from the North American Association for Environmental Education, EPA, the US Forest Service and the World Wildlife Fund. As another joint effort, the Border-wide EE Coalition was initiated in response to a need expressed by members of the Border 2012 Program Regional Taskforces to increase communication and networking among environmental educators along the border region. The Coalition started with support from EPA as an informal collaboration network using two simple tools, a listserv and an online bilingual newsletter. After two years, these were merged with the Border EE Web Database into the BorderWide EE Coalition website, a bilingual hub for all EErelated information in the US-Mexico border region. The site hosts an updated database, an EE news section, a calendar of events and a section for publication opportunities and other resources for environmental educators on both sides of the border. The launch of the Border-Wide EE Coalition sparked the idea of an event that would serve as the culmination of many years of hard work, perseverance and successful strides towards creating a more cohesive border region. In June of 2008, the Environmental Education Exchange hosted the first bi-national, bilingual NAAEE-sponsored Border-Wide EE Conference in Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Nearly 100 environmental educators from Mexico and the U.S border-states came together in this unforgettable opportunity to meet and share environmental education ideas and passion for EE over a three-day period. The conference inspired discussion about the immediate challenges facing environmental educators in the border region, including looking at issues from an historical perspective, finding ways to gauge success in programs, addressing the problem of organizations feeling isolated in their efforts, discovering ways to eliminate cultural and bi-national barriers, securing and maintaining funding, identifying needs, and making existing curricula available to everyone. An important outcome of the conference was the establishment of a network and support system to strengthen communication and teamwork in solving the critical issues of this region and to promote sustainability and environmental education. Through all of these initiatives, considerable progress has been made for EE in the region, specifically greater capacity and collaboration among players and an increase in
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EE Exchange, Tucson
resources and materials that are specifically designed for the border region. Progress in the field of EE for the US-Mexico border region has always been linked to the availability of funding, which lately has shrunk considerably. Nonetheless, we hope that within the next five years the border EE community will grow even stronger, and that efforts such as the Border-Wide EE Coalition will be solidified into a more formal network of players, with a voice and the power to elevate the field of environmental education to a place where we can truly concentrate on improving the state of our shared natural environment.
One element that has been instrumental in maintaining this informal network is personal contact â€” getting together with others, visiting with friends and colleagues, and meeting new people. These relationships are fostered through regional meetings, bi-national conferences and field trips. Efforts like those described here show the will of individuals and groups to make a difference in their communities, beyond the limits of funding, resources, language and political boundaries. However, there remains an urgent need to take these efforts to the next level, to recognize that environmental education plays an essential role in promoting sustainability and social justice in border communities, and to inject the field with new energy through funding and resources that translate into higher capacity to develop more effective environmental education programs. Jose Marcos-Iga is the Border Programs Coordinator at the Environmental Education Exchange in Tucson, Arizona, and Board Member of the NAAEE. Kristin Mock is a graduate student in Spanish Literature at the University of Arizona and Border Programs Assistant at the Environmental Education Exchange. Kristina Erny is a graduate student in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona and Project Assistant at the Environmental Education Exchange. Note 1. Migration Policy Institute, â€œThe US-Mexico Border.â€? Migration Information Source, June 2006, <www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display. cfm?id=407>.
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Catalina Environmental Leadership Program
Visiting the schools and home communities of your residential program students
by Courtney Howard
ave you ever thought about visiting the home communities of the students who come to your outdoor center? I was lucky enough to be part of a group from my program that set off to discover the issues relevant in the home communities of our students and to view first hand the impacts of our program on the students that visit us. In late November 2005, nine of us set off on bicycles from our mainland office in north Los Angeles. Destination: Phoenix, Arizona, via San Diego. We were a team representing the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP), a residential environmental education program located on Santa Catalina Island, California. Our trip lasted 14 days, during which we covered over 600 miles, consumed 420 meals, made presentations to over 720 kids at 8 schools, fixed 13 flat tires, and consumed or handed out over 1,100 energy bars and 1,300 vitamin drink packets as sponsored alternatives to junk food snacks and sodas. We organized this outreach program both for fun and to learn about the home communities of our students. In doing so, we hoped to draw a greater connection between words spoken at our program and the real lives and local actions taken by the students at home. We were aware of the shortcomings of a residential program that is far removed from our participants’ communities. Our living environment on an island is drastically different from the home environments of most of our students; and in a program of three to five days, we never have enough time to teach all the things we wish to. In addition, we can’t observe, measure or reward the behavior of our participants when they return home. In short, we don’t know if what we are doing is relevant to their lives or is working! Visits to the home communities of students can help outdoor educators to extend their relationship with schools, Page 34
direct their messages and curriculum to the needs of participants, and better evaluate the success of their programs. Walking in the school grounds of students and observing first-hand the environmental problems they experience (e.g., traffic, pollution) and the positive changes they have made (e.g., beautiful gardens, recycling programs) allows educators to tailor their teaching themes and information to the students’ real world. By visiting the schools, you will also be able to support teachers in their presentation of your program material and have opportunities to assist in implementing sustainable practices. You may even wish to offer eco-consultations, evaluating current school practices and providing solutions to any problems. In schools that are new to your program, you will be able to reinforce key principles and information. In veteran schools, a visit by your team is a way to recognize their patronage and commitment to your program.
When to do outreach? Outreach to schools can be done either before or after students visit. Pre-trip visits enable you to provide an introduction to your site and staff, build enthusiasm and answer the typical questions (Are there wild animals? Do they bite? Where do we sleep?). Our conversations with students about bike riding, home gardening and other sustainable activities enabled us to plant “eco seeds” months before the island visit. More rigorous preparatory work could include starting to identify plants and animals, or activities that begin to build on the ecological knowledge of the group. Visiting students at their schools after they have been to your site allows you to follow up on their progress from the teachings at your program. As our program is primarily focused on ecology and sustainable development, it was great to see how (or whether) the action strategies students proposed while they were at camp increased sustainability in their home community. We saw school gardens, composting
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Catalina Environmental Leadership Program
Students learn the art of composting and compost bin construction at Almaden Country School in San Jose (left) and Crane Country Day School in Santa Barbara (right).
systems, marine projects, and reports on our program and our “CELP principles” plastered all over classroom walls. Most importantly, we were able to see what messages were getting through to students and what was relevant to their communities. In going to a home community, you go beyond anecdotal evidence of your program’s success and see what works and what needs to be worked on.
Outreach curriculum An outreach program is more than simply visiting schools: it is also an opportunity to deliver curriculum that prepares students for their upcoming program visit or reinforces what they learned on their last visit. Linking the work that students do at your site with work that is done at home is likely to have the largest impact and most success. The curriculum you offer will depend upon your program. Having a central theme, or themes, for your tour will help you to focus on what information you will be seeking to deliver. We focused on sustainable living and ensuring that all our pieces had positive messages and suggestions for changes that children could make. For example, our tour took place just before Christmas, so we ran “conscious consumerism” workshops on alternative gift-giving ideas. We helped students plant seeds or seedlings for gifts to parents and family, and suggested making meals and baked goods as well as giving experiences such as museum or event tickets. The most popular gift items were certificates made from recycled materials that pledged volunteer hours with organizations in the local community. We did Internet research beforehand to come up with a variety of local organizations that would take volunteers in the specific locale of the school, and we were able to incorporate these lists into teaching resources the following year when the school came to our site. There are two curriculum-development options. You can offer set pieces and ask the schools to choose the topics or lessons they would like to receive. Alternatively, you can find out what topics the schools are interested in and then tailor experiences to meet those needs. The first path offers the advantage of clearly defined curriculum programming that you repeat over and over (and become really good at!).
The second path, tailoring your programming to schools, allows you to be more responsive to individual needs and to keep the teaching exciting for your team. In either case, try to develop new activities that participants haven’t done before; and when developing new curriculum, envision how it could ultimately be brought back and implemented at your site, either as rainy-day activities or to bring greater depth to your current curriculum. Although it may have been more work, we provided a combination of tailored curriculum and set pieces that we repeated. Schools could choose from such topic areas as gardening, composting and conscious consumerism, and from activities such as interactive assemblies and team-building exercises. Each school selected topics through a survey, and then depending on the time available and the number of students, we tailored curriculum for the schools. We also had a few curriculum pieces that we repeated over and over. One was a slide show of our bike trip, which by the end of the trip every staff member felt comfortable in leading. Another was gardening lessons. At one school, we worked in the garden and composting area that the students and staff had built since visiting our program. This was an inspiring opportunity for students to recap what they had learned from us and for us to reinforce the lessons. One school requested the gardening elective… but they didn’t have a garden! So, instead, with the help of some willing parents and some school funding, we designed a garden for them and then put the kids to work making raised beds, building a compost bin, moving earth and planting. To start the initial contact with a school, it is helpful to prepare a survey letter to be sent to outdoor education chaperones or principals at the schools. The survey should include a blurb of a few paragraphs or a page that gives a thorough explanation of your outreach program. No matter how well we thought we did this, we later found out that some faculty were still confused and so did not respond. Ask questions pertaining to how many kids you will be working with and what ages, the preferred dates and times, the topics and curriculum they are interested in, and whether
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Photos: Top, Dan Sullivan; Below, Catalina Environmental Leadership Program
Pre-trip visits to schools provide opportunities to introduce the outdoor center, answer questions and build enthusiasm for the outdoor activities students will participate in
they would be willing to make a donation to your programming (most schools have budgets for presentations).
Recruiting team members No matter how long or short your outreach, how many kids you will be visiting and how you plan to get there, you need staff to run your outreach program. The number required will be very specific to your programming. It was important for us to be working with groups not much larger than those we teach on the island (10–14 students). As a result, we needed all 10 staff members to entertain the sometimes large crowds of between 60 to 280 students and faculty. Because of the expected fun and adventure of the trip, our staff were willing to volunteer their time during an offseason period. By visiting schools as staff volunteering our time, our outreach gave students an example of community service. This work-related enrichment was also a wonderful chance for the staff to strengthen friendship.
Why bikes? By riding bikes to and from the home communities of our participants, we were able to smell, hear, taste and see first-hand the environments in which they live everyday. Sure, one could drive around in a big bus and a few gear vans to visit schools, but biking allows you to exhibit a commitment to living sustainably while demonstrating the practicality of alternative transport. We traveled 600 miles on our trip, but the schools served by many outdoor centers may not be so widely dispersed as ours. If your program serves several schools in one or more urban areas, you could ride from your home base and then divide your team into smaller groups in order to reach several schools in one day. We did this in the Phoenix area, and it allowed us to visit several schools while still meeting our time budget. If you can’t afford either the time or the cost of a long bike trip, consider taking your bikes on public transport (trains, buses, subway) part of the way and then riding from the station to and from the schools. And if you do jump on a bus or a train for one sector of the trip, be sure to mention this to students, showPage 36
ing them how flexible and complementary these sustainable forms of transportation can be. Keep a log of the distances that your group cycles or travels on public transportation and use a carbon-counting tool on the Web to show students how easy it is to reduce transportation emissions.
Bike touring logistics The energy needed to ride a long distance pales in comparison to the time it takes to organize the ride beforehand and during the tour. What you’ll need to plan will depend upon what the purpose and length of the trip and the distance between schools. The following are important considerations in planning, particularly if you plan a long tour. Route planning and safety: Contact bike associations in the areas you will be traveling in order to obtain cycling maps and advice on the safest routes you can take. On our trip, the motto was “Safety never takes a day off,” and we found that going a few extra miles to take a safer route was always worth it. Look for routes with wide shoulders, low traffic and minimal hills. Even on the safest routes, bike riding has risks, so it is important that all riders be adequately insured for the trip and covered by workers’ compensation. Plan to cover shorter distances on the first few days and increase this as team members gain speed and skill at riding and changing tires. We aimed to ride an average of 50 miles a day, some days covering only 23 miles and some days 70. Always allow ample time to arrive at your destination, and expect at least one flat tire. It’s a lot easier to relax and wait for the children than to be in a rush with just enough time to change clothes before presenting. Support vehicle: A support vehicle can be helpful, and possibly critical, depending on how much gear you are taking and how far you are going. You may feel that you are cheating by having a great big honking van follow you into the schools, but a support vehicle will help ease the nerves of novice riders and can provide assistance to injured or tired
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riders. Your tour will be quicker if you have a vehicle for carrying most of the gear, food and bulky teaching supplies. A vehicle will also help to ensure that you arrive at schools on time, sweeping up riders and carrying them the last distance if they just keep getting flat tires. Bikes and gear: The decision about whether to use road bikes or mountain bikes depends on where you are going. Most of our team picked road bikes for the long distance trip we had planned, and those on mountain bikes definitely worked considerably harder. Make sure all bikes are checked out and tuned up and that you have spare tubes, pumps and patch kits before you start to ride. We were able to get donations of patch kits, water bottles, spare tubes and bike lights (critical if considering any sort of twilight or night riding). The vast majority of our non-donated gear, such as clothing, helmets and raingear, came from thrift stores and “veloswaps” — events in which cyclists get together to sell or swap used gear and parts at super cheap prices. Accommodation: A good night’s sleep can make the difference between a day of stress and a day of laughter. If you are camping, look for scenic and natural sites that will revitalize the group after a day of hard riding. The most economical accommodation is in homestays with teachers and students, which also allow you to have conversations and see life in ways you wouldn’t have considered before. If the schools can’t arrange homestays, ask if there is a common area to sleep in, such as a library, a church or a gymnasium. Funding: No matter what sort of outreach program you
plan, the big question will come up: How are we going to pay for all this? If you’re organized, you can apply for grants; if not…. Schools are often willing to pay for assembly visits, and local organizations in the communities you visit may be able to make small donations in the form of food or free services, such as bike repair. If your program has charitable status, try to raise tax-deductible donations from businesses and individual supporters. Along the way, you can stretch the food budget by picking up bulk cases of produce from farmers markets and end-of-the-day bread from bakeries. Whether you go by bike or take some other form of transportation, visiting schools will be empowering for both your staff and the school communities you visit. You will get to know the local issues in the home communities of the students who visit your site and be in a better position to tailor your programming in the future. You can also help to motivate school communities toward further action, building gardens, recycling or volunteering. For their part, school communities love to share in the passion and adventure of an outreach tour. Nothing is more memorable than arriving at a school to find banners waving and kids cheering, and then learning what actions they have taken in their home communities as a result of their time in your program. Courtney Howard is a former instructor, leadership coordinator and program coordinator for the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) and Catalina Island Camps. He currently lives in Hobart, Australia, on the island of Tasmania. CELP is run by Catalina Island Camps in collaboration with Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.
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Making Natural Connections
Jack Cafferty/The Peregrine Fund
Integrating Social Studies and Science through lessons in ecology, wildlife management and civics
by Susan Pass and Christine Moseley
s teacher educators, we often tell pre-service and in-service teachers that to teach one subject in one lesson is to teach once; to teach two subjects in a lesson is to teach more than once. We encourage them to think about subject integration because we believe that it provides an opportunity for students to make natural and meaningful connections between and among multiple content areas. As Vars and Beane concluded, such an approach in this era of standards-based accountability is very helpful to students: “Almost without exception, students in any type of interdisciplinary or integrative curriculum do as well as, and often better than, students in a conventional, departmental teaching approach.”1 But can students learn ecology and biology concepts while also learning social studies and civics? We believe the answer to this question is an emphatic “yes” if teachers carefully choose the tasks they have students engage in. In this article, we describe two lessons that integrate civics, science and mathematics, and invite students to make meaningful connections between social studies and ecology. The lessons are adapted from activities in the Project WILD: Science and Civics, Sustaining Wildlife Curriculum and Activity Guide. This science and social studies curriculum uses two strands of activities — Habitat Exploration and Participatory Democracy — that prepare students to undertake action projects that will benefit local wildlife. The two lessons presented here are representative of both strands. Page 38
Both incorporate the principles of wildlife management in their conceptual frameworks and allow students to learn the importance of animal habitats and the factors that affect wildlife populations in continually changing ecosystems. In addition, students learn how personal and societal choices made today can affect the environment in the future. They also learn to track legislation through their state or provincial legislative process and discover how elected representatives can promote environmental protection.
Habitat Exploration: Limits to Living Here Time: 1 class period Grade levels: Elementary and middle school. If students collect and graph their own data, the activity can be done at the high school level. Materials: Graph A: Populations, Graph B: Temperatures; alternatively, students can collect and graph data obtained from state/provincial and national parks, wildlife conservatories or local environmental organizations. Background: This lesson teaches students to recognize the interdependence of ecosystem elements and the complexity of limiting factors. The law of limiting factors states that when a process, such as growth or reproduction, depends on several different factors, the speed of the process is deter-
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N U M B E R S April May June July Number of ground squirrels Number of prairie falcons
taking a field trip to a state or provincial park and arranging a talk by the park ranger.
T E M P E R A T U R E
Assessment: Have students write a short essay discussing the relationships between organisms in ecosystems and the role of limiting factors in those relationships. Students should include in this essay what they could do as concerned citizens to protect local habitats and animals. April May June July
Graph A: Populations
Graph B: Average Temperature
mined by the slowest factor. The limiting factor might be an insufficiency or an overabundance, such as too little light in the morning or too high a temperature in the afternoon, which could impede growth or food sources. Limiting factors in nature could include temperature, light, water, salts, soil nutrients, fire, and predator and prey populations. Introduction: Explain to students the law of limiting factors. Then provide them with the following background information about prairie falcons living in the Snake River Birds of Prey Natural Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho. The prairie falcons in that area, which is the largest concentration of nesting prairie falcons in the world, nest in the late spring and early summer on the cliffs along the Snake River. For food, the prairie falcon relies mainly on a large population of Townsend ground squirrels, which live on the flat land above the Snake River canyon. The availability of this prey is crucial to the survival of the nesting falcons. As the summer progresses, daytime temperatures increase. Eventually, the squirrels go underground and hibernate (aestivation) as a way to avoid the heat. The falcons then move to higher elevations where the ground squirrels remain active (thus obtainable) because the temperatures are cooler. Procedure: 1. Show students Graph A: Populations, and ask them to explain what happened and what caused the change in population numbers. 2. Show the students Graph B: Temperatures, and ask them to speculate on a reason for the change in the prairie falcon population. 3. Ask students to suggest other physical factors that might influence wildlife activity and populations (e.g., amount of rainfall, wind speed, hours of sunlight). Have students propose some ways that physical factors influence or limit human activity or population growth. 4. Investigate the competitive uses of the land occupied by the prairie falcons. What happens when humans decide to create farmland or to extend a city into areas where falcons or other birds of prey live? Do human choices affect the factors that limit wildlife populations? Consider
Participatory Democracy: Wild Billâ€™s Fate Time: Part of each class over a period of two weeks.
Grade levels: Middle school and high school; can be adapted to elementary school by inviting government officials to talk to the class. Background: All states and provinces have laws governing, and agencies that are responsible for, issues involving environmental protection and natural resources. In this lesson, students learn about their state or provincial legislatureâ€™s process for enacting laws that affect wildlife, as well as where to go for information on the current status of wildlife issues. They will also learn how to track the status of a bill in its progress through their legislature. Introduction: Explain to students that state and provincial governments make legislative decisions that affect wildlife populations. In addition, the protection and management of wildlife in a state or province is the responsibility of a designated agency, governed by laws, and that other agencies are concerned with other aspects of the environment, such as water, land use and air quality. The studentsâ€™ state senators or representatives, or members of their provincial parliaments (MPPs), have offices whose staff can provide information on laws governing wildlife issues and the responsible agencies. Procedure: 1. Appoint a team of two or three students to contact their MPPs, state representatives or state senators to find out what bills have been introduced that would affect wildlife and/or wildlife habitat. Have another team of students contact the agencies responsible for the management of wildlife and the environment to find out what concerns they have. 2. Have each team present their findings to the class. The first team lists the proposed legislation on the chalkboard by bill numbers, titles, amendments, and who introduced each bill. The second team then lists the concerns of the agencies on the chalkboard and explains these concerns to the class. 3. Have students prepare a list of questions on the proposed legislation. These may include the following: How much would this cost? Why does it need to be done? What would the result be? After they have heard all of the
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Photos: Left, Jack Cafferty/The Peregrine Fund; Right, Gail Littlejohn
questions, have students discuss which concern is most worthy of consideration. Based on the concern chosen, students will select a bill to investigate. 4. Have students track the progress of the bill through the legislature. Every week, ask one student to report to the class on where the bill currently is in the legislative process. Assessment: Have students write a letter to their state representatives or senators, either opposing or supporting the bill. The letter should be in essay form and must contain:
• engage students in tasks that challenge them cognitively and developmentally • can engage students in service tasks that have clear goals and meet genuine needs • can involve students in selecting, designing, implementing and evaluating their learning • promote communication and interaction with the community and teach higher thinking skills
1. A concise description of the purpose of the bill.
Susan Pass is assistant professor of social studies education at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
2. A discussion of the major viewpoints supporting (or opposing) the bill.
Christine Moseley is associate professor of environmental education at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
3. An explanation of possible unanticipated consequences of the passage of the bill.
4. A description of actions that citizens might take at appropriate stages to affect the bill’s passage or defeat. 5. A personal statement from the presenter on whether or not the bill should pass. Extension: Townsend ground squirrels, the major prey species of the falcons in the Snake River Birds of Prey Natural Conservation Area, are found throughout much of the plains area. This area is also potentially good agricultural land. With that in mind, have the students investigate the competitive and diverse uses for the land occupied by the Townsend ground squirrels, and the legislation and controversies behind the establishment of the Birds of Prey Natural Conservation Area. Conclusion: Interdisciplinary lessons that blend science with social studies have many useful learning goals. Such lessons: • require students to apply concepts, content and skills to the construction of knowledge Page 40
1. G.F. Vars and J.A. Beane, Integrative Curriculum in a Standards-Based World, ED 441618, ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, 2000, p. 34. References Council for Environmental Education. Project WILD: Science and Civics, Sustaining Wildlife Curriculum and Activity Guide. 2007. Kellough, R.D. and Kellough, N.G. Secondary School Teaching. Pearson, 2003 and 2007. The National Council for the Social Studies. Expectations of Excellence. 1994. National Research Council. National Science Education Standards. 1996. Vars, G.F. and Beane, J.A. Integrative Curriculum in a Standards-Based World. ED 441618, ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, 2000. Project WILD Project WILD lesson plans and information can be found at <www.projectwild. org>. For more information about Project WILD, contact the sponsoring organizations: United States: Council for Environmental Education, 5555 Morningside Drive, Suite 212, Houston, TX 77005, (713) 520-1936, <www.councilforee.org>. Canada: Canadian Wildlife Federation, 350 Michael Cowpland Drive, Kanata, ON K2M 2N1, (800) 563-WILD, <www.cwf-fcf.org>.
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Resources Reviewers: Debra Bridgman, Alan Crook, Katie Gad, Tim Grant, Judy Halpern, Clifford Knapp, Phyllis McKenzie, Barbara McMillan, Nate Meyer, Nancy Sklavos
Tracker’s Field Guide The Tracker’s Field Guide by expert tracker James C. Lowery provides readers with almost everything they need to know in tracking 55 mammals in the United States (many of which are also found north and south of the US). As the subtitle of the book suggests, it is truly a “comprehensive handbook for tracking.” For each animal, a Track ID section has illustrations and photographs showing tracks, track measurements, common gaits, and comparisons of tracks to those of similar animals. A Track Windows section provides information about the animal’s behavior that aid in tracking, and clear black-and-white photographs of tracks as they would be seen in the animal’s habitat. Finally, a Notes for the Tracker section gives range maps and detailed information about habitat, weight, breeding and social habits, development of young, feeding, survival and other signs (scats, scratches and prey remains). This is one of the best tracking books I’ve ever seen, providing readers from Grade 5 upwards with a great deal of information about tracking and the life histories, habitats and behavior of North American wildlife, from bobcats to beavers to burros. – (CK) FalconGuide, 2006, ISBN 978-0-76273981-3, 416 pp., US$19.95 from Globe Pequot Press, (800) 962-0973, <www. falcon.com>.
Reconnecting With Nature First published in 1995, the third edition of Michael J. Cohen’s Reconnecting With Nature offers guidance for “finding wellness through restoring your bond with the Earth.” He intro-
duces a unique way of being in nature and understanding the Earth through the use of 53 natural senses. Most of the 18 chapters explain a particular topic, such as ways of sensing, the dangers of our alienation from the rest of nature and discomforts in nature. Each chapter also presents a relevant outdoor activity. The book is designed for all who value affective education and using nature as the main tool to reach students. The activities can be modified for students of a broad range of ages, perhaps 12 to adult. The book is well suited for teachers who like to delve into eco-psychological (the connections between ecology and psychology) education. – (CK) Ecopress (Finney Company), 2007, ISBN 978-1-893272-07-1 (pb), 240 pp., US$14.95 from Ecopress, (800) 846-7027, <www. finney-hobar.com/ecopress.htm>.
Insects and Spiders game Is it the female or male mosquito that sucks blood? What’s the difference between a locust and a grasshopper? If you know the answers to these questions, you are well on your way to knowing your arthropods. Professor Noggin’s Insects and Spiders is an easy-to-play game for 2–4 players. Each of the 30 sturdy cards has three easy and three hard questions about the physical characteristics, behavior, diet and habitat of one group of organisms (e.g., fleas, fireflies). The object of the game is to collect the most cards by correctly answering questions. The game is intended for ages 7 and up, and younger players may answer the easy questions while older players the hard ones. This game would be a handy resource for any classroom, library, school club or Green Teacher 85
family game chest, and could be used to reinforce new concepts, to review learned information or as a free-time activity. Insects and Spiders is one of 30 card games in the Professor Noggin’s series, 23 of which are also available in French. By the way, only the female mosquito sucks blood, and a locust is the same as a grasshopper. How did you do? – (DB) Outset Media, 2002, C/US$9.99. To find a retailer, call (877) 592-7374 or visit <www. professornoggin.com>.
I Found a Dead Bird Prompted by finding a dead hummingbird in her garage, author Jan Thornhill wrote I Found a Dead Bird as a guide to help young people learn about the cycle of life and death. She treats this important topic with competence and empathy. Some of the themes are Life and Life Spans (characteristics of living things and life expectancies of plants and animals); How Things Die (causes of plant and animal death, food chains and webs, and extinction); After Death (decay, scavengers, decomposition, and fossilization of plants and animals); and When People Die (controversial topics such as grieving, afterlife, memorials, soul, reincarnation, near-death experiences, and ghosts). The book is generously illustrated with full-color drawings and photographs on every page. Ages 9–13. – (CK) Maple Tree Press, 2006, ISBN 1-89706671-3 (pb), 64 pp., C$12.95 from Raincoast Press, (800) 663-5714; US$9.95 from Publishers Group West, (800) 788-3123, <www.pgw.com>.
Gone Wild ABCs In Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet, David McLimans has uniquely illustrated every letter of the alphabet in the form of a critically endangered animal, bird or insect. For example, he begins with a large black and white drawing of the head of a Chinese alligator, nose aloft and mouth agape, stylistically displayed in Page 41
the form of the letter “A.” Every page includes the common and scientific names of the animal depicted and brief details about taxonomic class, habitat, range, threats and status. A short introduction explains that animals’ chances of survival are diminished as people encroach upon their habitats. At the end of the book is a summary paragraph about each of the mentioned species. Children will have great fun learning their ABCs while they learn about some endangered animals and their plights. – (NS)
sequent pages provide information on life cycle, range, habitat, body basics, food, growth and change, and how the animal survives. Ending pages relate threats to that creature, such as global warming, habitat loss and overcollection, and what people can do to help save the animal from extinction. Large, colorful photographs, illustrations with call-outs, and renderings of life cycles are displayed throughout each book. Vocabulary words are displayed in bold type with definitions given in the glossary. This is an inspiring series both for classroom use and for parents interested in teaching their children about the plights of these wonderful creatures. – (NS)
Walker & Company, 2006, ISBN 978-08027 -9563-2 (hc), 40 pp., US$16.95 from Walker Young Readers, <www.walkeryoungreaders. com>.
Earth’s Endangered Animals series, ISBN 0-7787-19xx-x, 32 pp. each, US$6.95/ C$8.95 from Crabtree Publishing, <www. crabtreebooks.com>.
Earth’s Endangered Animals Bobbie Kalman’s 15-book “Earth’s Endangered Animals” series invites elementary age children to learn about 15 different species or animal groups, from bats and butterflies to leopards to manatees. All of the books in the series display a similar content and design, beginning with brightly illustrated covers and a discussion of what it means to be endangered. Sub-
Aqua’s Water Well Adventure In Aqua’s Water Well Adventures, geoscientist Mary Jane Conboy and well-technician Simon Smith introduce readers to a very small superhero. Aqua is a water droplet who takes children on a tour of the water cycle and subsequently into a number of rural household wells to discover what can happen if people’s wells are not properly cleaned and
maintained. With colorful kid-friendly illustrations, this book is geared toward early elementary age children. Parents and teachers can use it as a resource to teach youngsters about many aspects of the water they use and drink. – (NS) Well Wise, 2006, ISBN 0-978387-1-1 (pb), C$5.99 from Well Wise, <www.wellwise.ca>.
America’s Wetlands Providing information on wetlands and their inhabitants in six different regions of North America, Marianne Wallace’s America’s Wetlands: Guide to Plants and Animals can be a valuable resource in middle to upper elementary classrooms. The opening chapter explains what wetlands are, where they are located, and what flora and fauna inhabit them. Each of the six regional sections includes a map and an interesting travelogue that introduces the animals, birds, insects, amphibians, fish and plants that can be found living or visiting there. The names of the species are written in bold type for easy identification and for building vocabulary. There is even a small section on hard-to-find animals, plants and footprints, accompanied by helpful illustrations. At the end of each
Books for Young Readers Beatrice’s Goat written by Page McBrier, illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter Beatrice’s Goat speaks for Heifer International, an organization that works to end world hunger by providing livestock to families in poor communities. Beatrice is the eldest of five children living with their mother in a Ugandan village, where she helps care for her younger siblings, work the fields and grind cassava flour for market. Occasionally she stops outside the schoolhouse, dreaming of being a student herself, but there is no money for school. Then one day her family receives a gift from people far away — a goat that gives Page 42
birth to twins and provides enough milk to change their lives forever. This book is a lovely way to introduce the idea of giving gifts of hope. Ages 4–8. – (JH) Atheneum Books, 2001, ISBN 978-0-689-824609. US$16.95 from Simon & Schuster, <www.simonandschuster.com>; C$23.95 from Simon & Schuster Canada, <www.simonandschuster.ca>.
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Turtles in My Sandbox by Jennifer Keats Curtis, illustrated by Emanuel Schongut Jam-packed with turtle facts, Turtles in My Sandbox is the story of how a young girl and her mother learn about the work of turtle conservationists. While playing in her sandbox near the ocean early one June
section, a full-color illustration shows what a visitor to that wetland might discover. – (NS) Fulcrum Publishing, 2004, ISBN 978-155591-484-5 (pb), 48 pp., US$11.95 from Fulcrum Publishing, <www.fulcrum-books. com>.
The Wonder in Water In The Wonder in Water, Diane Swanson introduces the wide variety of creatures that live in and depend upon water in oceans, rivers, lakes, marshes, puddles, raindrops, and even in our own sweat. Each short chapter describes the characteristics of one of these water bodies and is infused with interesting information about the behavior and adaptations of some of the animals that live there. A sidebar in each chapter focuses attention on the special adaptations of one particular animal, and beautiful color photographs supplement the material. Although written for an upper elementary age group, the book can be used with younger children and enjoyed by older ones as well. – (NS) Annick Press, 2005, ISBN 1-55037-936-4 (pb), 48 pp., US$8.95/C$9.95 from Annick Press <www.annickpress.com/>.
World of Insects series
Rethink, Refuse, Reduce
The eight charming books in Bobbie Kalman’s “The World of Insects” series begin with an explanation of what insects are. Each then explores a particular topic, such as insect defenses, insect bodies and insect life styles. For example, Insects in Danger looks at threats to insects in four different biomes, discusses the impact of harmful poisons, non-indigenous invaders and collecting, and explains how people can help insects. In Insect Homes, readers learn about the design and construction of insect homes in holes, wood, paper, hives, nests, mounds and dirt cities. Each book concludes with a fun game or activity and a glossary of terms. Large, fullcolor photographs, pages with charming insect borders, and clean, easy-to-read type create an appeal that says, read me. The series is suitable for elementary age children and can be used in the classroom or by parents who share outdoor adventures with their families. – (NS)
Designed for professional development, Ken Webster’s provocative book Rethink, Refuse, Reduce challenges traditional EE in the name of education for sustainability (ESD), but argues that ESD, too, has to engage more in ideas than in issues, challenge dominant myths and push toward systemic change. Webster argues that getting “down in the weeds” with recycling and litter campaigns deals only with the back end of the problem, and that educators need to promote sustainability “as something aspirational rather than an exercise in belt-tightening.” His Prisoner’s Dilemma scenario is particularly effective in showing why depending on voluntary environmentalism is a largely ineffective strategy. He surrounds his central arguments with an effective use of quotes, cartoons, case studies, information, workshop activities and web-linked resources. He also provides a framework for a teacher in-service day on which to hang some of his main ideas and activities. There’s doom and gloom here, but it’s dealt with quickly, and there’s a real sense of hope in new approaches that go beyond moralizing and individual action. The book doesn’t give
Crabtree Publishing Company, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7787-23xxx, 32 pp. each, US $6.95/ C$8.95, <www.crabtree-pub.com>.
morning, Maggie discovers some mysterious eggs. Phoning the local zoo for advice, she learns how to become a “turtle sitter” and protect the nest until the eggs hatch. Through this caring action, Maggie and her mother learn of the work of the Turtle Lady and other wildlife experts. The end of the book contains activities “For Creative Minds,” which may be photocopied or downloaded from the publisher’s website. Ages 6–10. – (JH) Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006, ISBN 978-0-9768823-7-4, 32 pages. US$15.95 from Sylvan Dell Publishing, (843) 971-6722, <www.SylvanDellPublishing.com>; C$23.50 from University of Toronto Press, (800) 565-9523, <www.utpress.utoronto.ca>.
Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming by Jean Davies Okimoto, illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell Winston of Churchill, Manitoba, is an aware bear! Social activist and author, Winston informs his polar bear cronies that the ice is melting, threatening their home and future. Using his self-published book, he explains how carbon
dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions are contributing to global warming. If the polar bears could convince people to burn less fossil fuel, create less garbage and plant more trees, they could save their habitat. As tourists arrive in Churchill to see the annual polar bear migration, the polar bears appear on the horizon in a peaceful protest march, complete with signs to promote positive environmental action. The tourists learn “we must all do our part no matter how small.” The end page includes important information on the plight of polar bears. Ages 6–12. – (JH) Sasquatch Books, ISBN 978-157061-543-6, US$16.95 from Sasquatch Books, <www.sasquatchbooks.com>, (800) 775-0817; C$22 from Raincoast Books, <www.raincoast.com>, (604) 323-7100.
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all of the answers — hard to do when everything’s based on a complex and changing Earth system — but it does provide a good start on some of the essential questions. – (AC) Field Studies Council Publications, 2004, ISBN 1-85153-286-2 (pb), 116 pp., _15 from FSC, (44) 01743 852100, Montford Bridge, Preston Montford, Shrewsbury, Schropshire, SY4 1HW, UK, <www.field-studiescouncil.org>.
college teachers covering topics of history, culture and the environment will find Hope, Human and Wild beneficial for discussions relating to fair and ethical treatment of others, land use planning, and creative solutions for sustainable development. – (PM) Milkweed Editions, 2007, ISBN-978-1571313-00-3 (pb), 235 pp., US$15 from Milkweed Editions, <www.milkweed.org>.
Teen Guide to Global Action
Hope, Human and Wild First published in 1995, Bill McKibben’s Hope, Human and Wild: True Stories of Living Lightly on the Earth provides a glimpse into a future ripe with solutions to the conundrum of living sustainably. For those unfamiliar with Curitiba, Brazil, and Kerala, India, McKibben provides an in-depth discussion of successful approaches and solutions to such issues as traffic congestion (high speed buses that rival subways), homelessness and community well-being. He also discusses the progress in eastern North America, notably the reforestation of the Adirondacks and the return of wildlife that 100 years ago had all but disappeared. In a new afterward, he discusses how the various communities have fared since the book was originally published. High school and
The Teen Guide to Global Action, by Barbara A. Lewis, is the perfect little book to hand to a motivated teenager who wants to make a difference. Hip, up to date and easy to read, the guide begins by walking teens through the process of deciding what issues they want to tackle, doing background research and starting or joining a group. Subsequent sections of the book give ideas for action on human rights, hunger and homelessness, health and safety, education, environment, youth representation and peace and friendship. The book is spiced up with “Activist Flashbacks” and “Difference Makers,” features about young people and organizations that are working on global issues. “By the numbers” boxes give key statistics on each issue while “Connect” boxes list
websites and descriptions of organizations involved. Although only the keenest teen activists are likely to read it cover-to-cover, this book would be a great research reference for a geography or civics class and very useful to a high school environment or social issues club. – (KG) Free Spirit Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1-57542-266-2 (pb), 135 pp., US $12.95 plus s&h from Free Spirit Publishing, (800) 735-7323, <www.freespirit.com>.
Ecological Design and Building Are the green builders and designers of the future in your classroom? Sandra Leibowitz Earley’s Ecological Design and Building Schools: Green Guide to Educational Opportunities in the United States and Canada is a concise yet thorough directory to degree programs, certificate programs offered by nonprofit organizations, and continuing education programs for professionals and non-professionals in the fields of architecture, design and construction. The book begins with a brief history of education in ecological design and building, and an introduction to the current array of sustainable design/ build programs. A 23-page program table then lists 68 schools by category,
Enviro-novels for Young Adults My Contract with Henry Robin Vaupel’s young adult novel My Contract with Henry offers a refreshing and timely look at the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau. Assigned by their grade nine English teacher to create a project that reflects their interpretation of Thoreau’s life of simplicity and communion with nature in Walden, a group of students develops “The Henry Contract,” stating they will build their own dwelling and try to live off the land in neighboring Wayburn Woods. Each finds a niche in the bucolic setting, but as the story unfolds many challenges arise. Attempting to live a simple life in modern times is not easy at they anticipated, and the students find themselves rallying to save their beloved woodlands. Page 44
Tweens and teens will enjoy this fascinating story. – (NS) Holiday House, 2003, ISBN 0-8234-1701-8 (hc), 192 pp., US$19.95 from Holiday House, <www.holidayhouse.com>; C$21.50 from Thomas Allen & Son <www.Thomas-Allen.com>.
On Thin Ice On Thin Ice, by Jamie Bastedo, is a fascinating novel about an artistically gifted young girl living in the Arctic, her mystical bond with polar bears, and the environmental and cultural impacts of a rapidly warming climate — thinning ice, loss of polar bear habitat, and threats to the Inuit communities. Ashley Anowiak is a half Inuit teenager who has prophetic dreams of polar bears and shaman. As she records her dreams and obsessively draws her visions, the terrifying prophesies in them seem to come true. When one of Ashley’s teenage friends is found mangled and dead on an ice road near the village, the community is convinced that polar bears have returned
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showing the programs, courses and topics they offer, course formats, financial arrangements, campus facilities and resources, and community involvement. Brief profiles of each program are then given in a section organized by state and province. An “Additional Resources” chapter lists curriculum resources and people who offer instruction as individuals or through programs not listed in the directory. Career counselors, school libraries, and arts and technology instructors should all have a copy of this book. – (PM) New Village Press, 2005, ISBN-0-97660541-4 (pb), 167 pp., US$19.95 from New Village Press, (510) 420-1361, <www. newvillagepress.net>.
Social Learning In Social Learning Towards a Sustainable World, editor Arjen E.J. Wals presents 27 essays by leading researchers, thinkers and practitioners that explore the potential for social learning (roughly, individual learning in social settings and learning by social groups) as a way to understand and orient education for sustainability. The book tackles a fundamental issue for the discipline, that education for sustain-
ability cannot be separated from society: “In dealing with conflicts about how to organize, consume and produce in responsible ways, learning does not take place in a vacuum but rather in rich social contexts with innumerable vantage points, interests, values, power positions, beliefs, existential needs, and inequities.” Initial essays survey philosophical foundations that help readers understand social learning. The focus then shifts to describing different approaches to social learning in the context of sustainability and examples of practice. Social Learning Towards a Sustainable World is a technical, challenging read — easily graduate level. Nonetheless, it is well worth perusing at least the early chapters of the book to challenge and improve traditional, engrained ways of teaching adults and young adults. – (NM) Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2007, ISBN 978-90-8686-031-9 (hc), 540 pp., US$73, <www.wageningenacademic. com>.
River Wild and Oceans Nancy Castaldo has produced two excellent teacher resources — River Wild and Oceans — to help students learn about the importance of these water systems to all life. River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers begins with activities that help students in Grades 1-4 understand what rivers are, how they are created and why they
to the region and killed the boy. As the mystery unfolds, the old and new worlds blend to bring about unexpected and magical results. Although written as fiction, the author has taken real events and woven them into a story of life in the Arctic that will keep readers in a state of fascination from the beginning to the end of this amazing novel. A companion teacher’s guide, Polar Bears in a Climate of Change, is available online at <www.onthinice.ca>. – (NS) Red Deer Press, 2006, ISBN 978-088995-337-6 (pb), 176 pp., C$14.95/US$13.95 from Red Deer Press, <www.reddeerpress. com>.
Crow Medicine Teenage readers of Crow Medicine, by Diane Haynes, will easily identify with Jane, a high school student who
are important to the land and to people. The remaining chapters describe river systems in seven regions of the United States and Canada, and include many activities integrating art and science. For example, students create a “wetland” in a baking pan, and while learning about the Colorado River, they build a dam and discuss the impacts of dams on rivers. Students are encouraged to create a class poetry book about a local river. Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9 is organized according to ocean themes: waves, the sunlight zone, ocean meadows, tide pools, diving deep, gone fishing, sharks, whales, glaciers, shells and sand. Activities include science projects, such as making periscopes and simulating the insulating effect of blubber. Visual arts projects include making a fish piñata and glow-in-the dark fish pictures. An echolocation game helps students learn how whales avoid running into other fish. Both books have easy-to-use formats and well-organized chapters containing many illustrations, relevant facts and inspiring quotes. While the books are
lands the summer job of her dreams helping to care for injured animals at the local urban wildlife center. As the summer unfolds, mysterious circumstances start a chain of events that threaten the wildlife center and community. With the help of her friends, Jane sets out to discover what is happening to the wild birds and domestic animals. A harrowing adventure follows as the girls make amazing discoveries while attempting to solve the mysteries. Readers will be enthralled by the plot’s twists and turn of events. From beginning to end, Haynes spins a lively tale that will enlighten and captivate. – (NS) Walrus Books, 2006, ISBN 978-1-55285-806-6, 352 pp., US$6.95 from Midpoint Trade Books, (212) 727-0190, <www. midpointbooksnyc.com>; C$8.95 from H.B. Fenn, (800) 2673366, <www.hbfenn.com>.
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primarily teacher resources, students in Grades 5-8 might find them good references for projects and research. – (DB) Chicago Review Press Inc., River Wild, 2006, ISBN 1-55652-585-0, 147 pp; Oceans, 2002, ISBN 1-55652-443-9, 134 pp; US$14.95 each from Chicago Review Press <www.chicagoreviewpress.com>.
Reconnecting Children “Outdoor and experiential education (OEE) is a vital learning methodology for today’s children and young people,” write authors Andrea Foster and Grant Linney in Reconnecting Children through Outdoor Education: A Research Summary. They reference over 100 research studies, books and popular articles to support the view that OEE: 1) helps students relate learning to real life; 2) encourages their physical, emotional and spiritual health; 3) provides opportunities for character growth; and 4) connects students to their natural environments
in ways that promote involvement in creating a sustainable future. The 79-page report is straightforward and concise, interspersing easily digestible research summaries with a variety of “OEE in Action” program examples. Though written primarily as a “callto-action” for policy-makers, Reconnecting Children Through Outdoor Education will be useful to educators who want to support requests to education administrators, grant-makers and others to approve and/or fund OEE programs. – (NM) Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario, 2007, C$20 (incl. s&h) from COEO, 155 Park Street West, Dundas, ON L9H 1X9, <www.coeo.org>.
Kids Can Help Animals Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has compiled a plethora of facts and animal-friendly information in her book 50 Awesome Ways Kids Can Help Animals. The 50 mini-chapters are systematically organized and chock full of instructions, advice and data about how children can advocate for animals. For example, the reader will learn about
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elephants in the wild, how they are captured, and what subsequently happens to them in the zoo. Information on how to help elephants, and many other wild and domestic animals, is clearly presented in an easy-to-follow format. Children’s true testimonies are interspersed throughout the book, along with many suggestions on how children can take action to protect animals. Advice is given for writing letters and where to send them, how to boycott puppy mill pet stores and businesses that perform animal testing, how and where to display informational flyers, and how to become a vegetarian. The book takes a fairly hard-line approach to animal advocacy and is therefore recommended for teenage readers whose activism should be assisted by parents. – (NS) Grand Central Publishing, 2006, ISBN 978-0-446-69828-8, 304 pp., US$12.99/ C$16.99 from Hachette Book Group, <www.hachettebookgroup.com>, (800) 759-0190.
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Teaching Green Hands-on Learning in Grades K–5, 240 pages,8 1/2" x 11" 6–8 and 9–12 The Teaching Green books are complete “green” teaching resources for anyone working with young people in Grades K–5, 6–8 or 9–12, whether inside or outside of schools. Each book contains over 50 of the best teaching strategies and activities contributed to Green Teacher magazine during the past decade by educators across North America — all updated and revised for these special anthologies. Readers will find a wealth of kid-tested ideas covering a wide spectrum of environmental topics, from biodiversity to resource use to green technology. They include practical projects and new learning strategies that promote interdisciplinary hands-on learning about natural systems and foster critical thinking about environmental issues. Supported by rich illustrations and a curriculum index, these books will appeal to a wide range of teachers, educators and parents seeking innovative ideas for incorporating green themes into their programs. Prices:
Single copies CAN$25.95
2–10 copies US/CAN$20.95
100+ copies US/CAN$12.50
Greening School Grounds
Teaching About Climate Change
Creating Habitats for Learning 2001,144 pages,8 1/2" x 11",for grades K-12
Cool Schools Tackle Global Warming 2001,80 pages,8 1/2”x 11”,for grades K-12 also available in French as
Schoolyard “greening” is an excellent way to promote hands-on, interdisciplinary learning about the environment through projects that benefit schools and increase green space and biodiversity in communities. This anthology from Green Teacher magazine contains step-by-step instructions for numerous schoolyard projects, from tree nurseries to school composting to nativeplant gardens, along with a great many suggestions for connecting these outdoor activities to classroom learning. Prices: Single copies US/CAN$20.95 2-10 copies US/CAN$16.95
50+ copies US/CAN $11.95
Des idées fraîches à l'école Activités et projets pour contrer les changements climatiques
Helping educators to tackle the challenging topic of climate change, this anthology from Green Teacher offers a framework for teaching fundamental concepts and a variety of activities that can be undertaken in school, at home and in the community. Teachers will find practical ideas for making the intangibles of climate change more concrete to students, including experiments that demonstrate the greenhouse effect and school energy and waste audits. Prices: Single copies US/CAN$14.95 2-10 copies US/CAN$11.95
30+ copies US/CAN $9.50
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