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Ecoliteracy Norton Elementary Creating Ecological Literacy: Collaborating Throughout the Community November 6, 2008 – 2:00-3:15 Kirk Evans

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Presentation on theme: "Ecoliteracy Norton Elementary Creating Ecological Literacy: Collaborating Throughout the Community November 6, 2008 – 2:00-3:15 Kirk Evans"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecoliteracy Project @ Norton Elementary Creating Ecological Literacy: Collaborating Throughout the Community November 6, 2008 – 2:00-3:15 Kirk Evans kirk_evans@allenisd.org ecoliteracy_project@yahoo.com

2 The Ecoliteracy Project @ Norton Elementary has collaborated, partnered, or received funding from the following companies and organizations….. THANK YOU! Norton Elementary PTA

3 Building Awareness Through Literacy Becoming Stewards Through Action New York Times -- Growing Up Denatured By BRADFORD McKEE Published: April 28, 2005 Illustration by Stephen Webster Ecoliteracy Project @ Olson Elementary

4 Our Purpose To create and renew our environmental and ecological literacy through place-based educational experiences that foster a sense of place. REGION 4: THE BLACKLAND PRAIRIES Collin County is 851 square miles. 450 to 700 feet above sea level. Average annual rainfall ranges from 30 to 40 inches. Topography is gently rolling to nearly level and well dissected for rapid surface drainage. Collin County is in the (Trinity) Blackland Prairie (except for a small western portion) According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 99.9% of the Blackland Prairie is lost to other land uses. Only a few remnants are protected as hay meadows or conservancy land.

5 Ecoliteracy Project - components Curriculum and Instruction This component will take classrooms outside our school and into the natural areas – observing, collecting, recording and monitoring the health of our blackland prairie ecosystem. Awareness and Stewardship This component extends learning outside of the classroom and the scheduled school day. It provides environmental and conservation based projects within our neighborhood and community.

6 “Liberal education in wildlife… calls for somewhat different teaching materials and sometimes even different teachers. The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands.” Aldo Leopold, The River of the Mother of God (1991) School Environmental Education Team (SEED Team) 15 teachers, over 365 students, monthly meetings and planning, staff development workshops and trainings, monthly field lessons with field stations, and local field trips Biodiversity Inventory (06-07 Foundation and Montgomery Farm Grant, Expanded 08-09, w/ Royce Milam of Wild Visions) Campus Tree Inventory (City of Allen – Urban Forestry) Wood Lot and Campus observation and studies The inventory is a living document it can be added to yearly Watershed Study (07-08 Foundation For Allen Schools and REI Grants) Leadership development for teachers and students (Allen ISD–Science Dept.) Gardening Native plant & vegetable (06-07 Leadership Allen) Mapping the community (07-08 EDS Grant) Sense of Place Mapping (08-09 Foundation for Allen Schools) Curriculum and Instruction – in the classrooms

7 Environmental Education Club (5 th and 6 th grade students) 5 th and 6 th grade students – Meetings monthly Programs and Activities: Nest Box building, placement and monitoring Classroom Presentations and Lessons – Student Brochure REI Adventure Days Booth at City of Allen Arbor Days Trash clean-ups on Campus and Watters Creek (Keep Allen Beautiful), Thrift Cart (Book Exchange, T-shirt exchange) School recycling program (City of Allen) Community Presentations (Creek clean-ups, Earth Day events) Community Based Programs (School Brochure) Nest Box Monitoring (Connemara Conservancy, Montgomery Farm, KAB) Creek Clean up (Keep Allen Beautiful) Garden maintenance and planting (Leadership Allen Project/Allen HS FFA) Invasive Plant Eradication/Prairie Grass Restoration (Connemara Conservancy) Awareness and Stewardship - Our School as a community In his book Earth in Mind (2004), David Orr writes, "By community I mean, rather, places in which the bonds between people and those between people and the natural world create a pattern of connectedness, responsibility, and mutual need. Real communities foster dignity, competence, participation and opportunities for good work. And good communities provide places in which children's imagination and earthly sensibilities root and grow.”

8 Collaborating in our community Biodiversity Inventory Publication Stage w/ United Supermarkets as “Take a Hike Guide: Cultural and Natural History of the Flora and Fauna of the Blackland Prairie” City of Allen Urban Forestry, Connemara Conservancy – Naturalist Watershed – City of Allen Water Conservation Department Gardening – Native plant & vegetable Leadership Allen, Allen HS – FFA, Alliance for a Healthier Allen, ALLen Reads (Friends of the Library) Leadership development program for teachers and students Allen ISD Science Department Mapping Watters Creek development Setting waypoints for a scavenger within the development Sense of Place Mapping -- City of Allen GIS specialist

9 City of AllenAllen ISD Parks and Recreation Keep Allen Beautiful Ecoliteracy Project @ Foundation Curriculum and Instruction This component will take classrooms outside our school and into the natural areas – observing, collecting recording and monitoring the health of our blackland prairie ecosystem. Biodiversity Inventory Tree Inventory (Urban Forester) Plant Inventory Wildlife Inventory (Take A Hike Guide – Market Street) Watershed Discovery/Investigation Sense of Place Mapping Community Gardens (AHS – FFA) Vegetable Garden Native Plant Garden (Leadership Allen) Air and Water Quality Monitoring Awareness and Stewardship This component extends learning outside of the classroom and the scheduled school day. It provides environmental/ ecological and conservation based projects within our neighborhood and community. Adopt-a-Waterway Adopt-a-Highway/Roadway/Campus Habitat Restoration Programs Nest Box Monitoring Prairie Grass Restoration Invasive Plant Species Eradication Watershed Restoration Community Garden Vegetable Garden Native Plant Garden Air and Water Quality Monitoring EE Consortium Future Partnerships Sierra Club, Market Street (United Supermarkets), Allen Garden Club, Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, Heard Museum, TPWD – Master Naturalist/Gardner/Composter, County Extension Service, REI, Boy & Girl Scouts Montgomery Farm Connemara Conservancy Creating Ecological Literacy Through Place-Based Educational Experiences

10 “Seeding a Healthier Allen” Watters Creek Event – April 4 th, 2009 Collaborative between- ALLen Reads – Friends of the Library EE Consortium Alliance for a Healthier Allen Author/Speaker Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks

11 “Creating Ecological Literacy Through Place- Based Educational Experiences” Ecological Literacy “An ecologically literate person would have at least a basic comprehension of ecology, human ecology, and the concepts of sustainability, as well as the wherewithal to solve problems.” David Orr Environmental literacy Is used to describe an individual's capacity to perceive and interpret the relative health of environmental systems and to take appropriate action to maintain, restore or improve the health of those systems. http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/Ecoliteracy.htm#Ecoliteracy_– _a_definition Ecoliteracy "The great challenge of our time is to build and nurture sustainable communities – communities that are designed in such a way that their ways of life, businesses, economies, physical structures, and technologies do not interfere with nature's inherent ability to sustain life. The first step in this endeavor is to understand the principles of organization that ecosystems have developed to sustain the web of life. This understanding is what we call ecological literacy. Teaching this ecological knowledge – which may be called 'principles of ecology,' 'principles of sustainability,' 'principles of community,' or even the 'basic facts of life' – will be the most important role of education in the next century. “ Fritjof Capra

12 Why a biodiversity inventory? "Most children have a bug period, and I never outgrew mine. Hands-on experience at the critical time, not systematic knowledge, is what counts in the making of a naturalist. Better to be an untutored savage for a while, not to know the names or anatomical detail. Better to spend long stretches of time just searching and dreaming." E.O. Wilson, Naturalist (1994) “People are unlikely to value what they cannot name. One of my students told me that every time she learns the name of a plant, she feels as if she is meeting someone new. Giving a name to something is a way of knowing it.” From an interview with Elaine Brooks by Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods (2005)

13 Our biodiversity inventory included….. Roger Tory Peterson Institute Workshop Field observations and investigations Experiential/Hands-on Learning Research components utilizing technology and on-line field guides (student published field guide/inventory list) Work with a naturalist and ecopoetist Campus Tree Inventory with the City of Allen Urban Forester – Susan Campbell Continuous data collection of living organisms on campus and surrounding areas

14 Mapping our Community and Watershed Study Mapping – (EDS Grant) 9 GPS units REI training with students and teachers Google Earth and National Geographic software GIS training City of Allen GIS Watershed – ( Foundation for Allen Schools ) East Fork of the Trinity River 2 major waterways in Allen – Cottonwood Creek (east of Hwy 75) and Rowlett Creek (west of Hwy 75)

15 Norton Elementary

16 Biodiversity Inventory Study sites for – 06-07 & 08-09 Working with Ecopoetist/Naturalist Royce Milam – Wild Visions

17 Our watershed study will include…. Aquatic ecology teaching workshop Field trip to Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility (Lake Lewisville) Monthly field investigations in Montgomery Farm wetlands, ponds and creeks Field stations on waterways City of Allen – Water Education Specialist (Enviro-scape tables) Waterway clean-ups Roger Tory Peterson Institute (Level 2 workshop) Continue biodiversity inventory with aquatic species list Wood Duck boxes built and placed along waterways

18 Norton Elementary

19 Lessons to learn from Last Child in the Woods "Every school district in America should be associated with one or more wildlife-and-childhood preserves in its region." (p.227) Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods (2005) “Local school districts currently offer studies on rain forest and global warming – but fail to focus on their home region’s own rich array of indigenous species. In the new zoopolis, our schools would use surrounding natural environments as classrooms.”(p.261) Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods (2005) “Learning directly within the local community of a student." David Sobel (co-director Center for Place-based Education Antioch New England Graduate School) "...placed-based education increases students' sense of stewardship and environmental consciousness and adds to their sense of attachment to place." Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods (2005)

20 "Every school district in America should be associated with one or more wildlife-and-childhood preserves in its region." (p.227) Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods (2005) “Local school districts currently offer studies on rain forest and global warming – but fail to focus on their home region’s own rich array of indigenous species. In the new zoopolis, our schools would use surrounding natural environments as classrooms.”(p.261) Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods (2005) “Designing engaging work will take the kids outside of the classroom.” Phillip Schlechty “Experience [outside the school] has its geographical aspect, its artistic and its literary, its scientific and its historical sides. All studies arise from aspects of the one earth and the one life lived upon it.” (p.91) John Dewey, The School and Society (1915)

21 Authors & Literature Aldo Leopold – The River the Mother of God, and Sand County Almanac Richard Louv – Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder David Orr – Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect David Sobel – Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education, and Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities Stone, Barlow, eds. – Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World E.O. Wilson – The Future of Life, Naturalist and In Search of Nature Clifford Knapp – Lasting Lessons, In Accord with Nature

22 Cornell University Study Published in Children, Youth and Environments 2000 adults surveyed Found that those who enjoyed camping, hiking, and fishing before age 11 were far more likely to be avid supporters of the environment Gardening helps but not as effective Formal outdoor education programs have little effect on participants feelings about the environment. Deep immersion and free play in the outdoors seem to be important for creating a lifelong love of nature. Being exposed to all forms of nature can protect children against stress and boost thinking skills. People who reported having foraged the greatest breadth of things-from acorns, arrowheads, and cattails, to fireflies, fish, and turtles-in childhood had, as teenagers, better knowledge of biodiversity. “Nature and the Life Course: Pathways from Childhood Nature Experiences to Adult Environmentalism” Authors of study – Nancy Wells and Kristi Lekies, Cornell University

23 On-line References and Resources Children and Nature Network -- http://www.cnaturenet.org/, Last Child in the Woodshttp://www.cnaturenet.org/ Center for Ecoliteracy -- http://www.ecoliteracy.org/http://www.ecoliteracy.org/ http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/Ecoliteracy.htm#Ecoliteracy_–_a_definition Environmental Literacy Council -- http://www.enviroliteracy.org/http://www.enviroliteracy.org/ Prairie Ecology http://www.bellmuseum.org/distancelearning/prairie/fieldguide/index.html www.enature.com Watershed EPA – Surf your Watershed -- http://cfpub1.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfmhttp://cfpub1.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm Environmental Enquiry -- http://ei.cornell.edu/watersheds/http://ei.cornell.edu/watersheds/ Collin County demographics information http://www.answers.com/topic/collin-county-texas http://www.answers.com/topic/allen-texas

24 Information about Nature Deficit Disorder– Resources and References: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv - http://www.cnaturenet.org/ http://www.cnaturenet.org/ Connecting Today’s Kids with Nature: A Policy Action Plan, National Wildlife Federation - http://www.nwf.org/ http://www.nwf.org/

25 Talking points: 1.Environmental Education in public school settings 2.Nature Deficit Disorder 3.Play outside Research Shows: Kids are spending less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago. Play outdoors can increase creativity, reduce stress, and lead to increase physical fitness Viewing nature can reduce physiological stress response, increase levels of interest and attention, and decrease feelings of fear, anger, or aggression. Early-life outdoor experiences-whether alone or with others-have been identified as the most important factor in developing an environmental ethic. Short-term exposure to natural areas through brief walks and even looking at images of nature has been found to have positive effects on mood reducing feelings of anger and anxiety. Sources: (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)

26 Environmental Education Future of Environmental Education in public school settings from the “No Child Left Inside” Coalition – No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) emphasis on testing for core subjects is causing many administrators to eliminate environmental education in favor of investing more resources in math language arts, severely limiting instructional time for science and social studies, the traditional subjects in which EE is taught.” Environmental Education is under EPA not the Department of Education. Environmental Education is a broad based term used by many groups and organizations to fit a need or niche that they believe to be helping shape our educational direction. Environmental Education: The goal of EE is to create a world population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and human impacts on the environment. An environmentally educated population will have the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations and commitment to work individually and collectively toward solving current problems and preventing new ones. The objective of EE is to generate knowledge to enable the sustainable management of global natural and physical resources. Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken Research Shows: Environmental Education Good for overall student performance Great at motivating students Critical thinking, math, and life science skills consistently improve Standardized test performance improves Supports and improves other science learning Supports language-arts development Under-resourced students show increased improvement over peers Sources: (Bartosh 2004); (Athman & Monroe 2004)

27 Nature Deficit Disorder Contributing factors….. Fear – Stranger Danger, Worry about – bug bite, bee stings and poison ivy Lack of – playgrounds, parks and open space Liability – limited traditional outside play activities like climbing trees and building forts. Obesity – in May JAMA released obesity has flat-lined at an epidemic level…. but it is still profoundly high. Electronic media – lures kids inside Overscheduled children – no time to play outside unless it is organized sports fields Research shows: Spending time outdoors can lessen the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder/ADHD. Viewing nature from a window can increase girls’ concentration and self-discipline. Time playing in natural green spaces can improve motor skills, including coordination. Environmental education can increase science test scores. 30 minutes outside a day can result in a better nights’ sleep Sources (Fjortoft2004);(Touchette 2007);(Taylor 2001)

28 Play outside Research Shows: Children who play outside Play more creatively Have lower stress levels Have more active imaginations Become fitter and leaner Develop stronger immune systems Have greater respect for themselves, for others and for the environment Source: (Fjortoft 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005) National Wildlife Federation suggests: One green hour a day Garden for wildlife with children Encourage schools to participate in NWF Schoolyard Habitat Volunteer with local conservation, nature and environmental organizations Play with your child outdoors www.greenhour.org http://www.nwf.org/kidsoutside/pdf/CKN_full_optimized.pdf

29 “Creating Ecological Literacy through Place-Based Educational Experiences” As part of our ecology literacy grant from the Foundations for Allen Schools and Montgomery Farm we are conducting a school wide survey. Please, take a few minutes to fill out the survey. Return it to your child’s homeroom teacher by September 29, 2006. Thank you for your time and the information that you shared. 1. How much time do you (I) spend outside weekly? your family (F)? _____ 30 minutes_____ 2 hours _____ 1 hour_____ 3 or more hours 2. How often do you visit places with an emphasis in the natural world (examples -- museums, zoo’s, state parks, national parks, etc…) per year? _____ 1 time_____ 4 times _____ 2 times_____ 5 times _____ 3 times_____ More than 5 times _____other__________________________________________________ 3. What are your most common outdoor activities? _____ team sports (practice and games)_____ fishing _____ walking/exercising_____ boating _____ gardening/lawn care_____ canoeing/kayaking _____ hiking_____ organized community events _____ biking_____ scouting programs _____other__________________________________________________ 4. What are some of your home conservation practices? _____ recycling, reusing, etc…_____ energy conservation _____ planting a native plant landscape_____ water conservation _____ soil conservation (composting, mulch, etc..)_____ organic practices (eliminating chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc…) _____other__________________________________________________ 5. What plants have been planted in your home landscape? _____ native plants_____ annual plants _____ non-native plants_____ perennial plants _____ decorative plants_____ unknown _____ exotic plants _____other__________________________________________________ 6. Are you familiar with the native plants in our area? _____ trees_____ grasses _____ wildflowers_____ shrubs _____ vines_____ aquatic plants For the purpose of our biodiversity inventory, please list the ones you can readily identify. 7. Are you familiar with the wildlife in our area? _____ insects/invertebrates_____ amphibians _____ Mammals_____ fish _____ reptiles_____ birds For the purpose of our biodiversity inventory, please list the ones you can readily identify. Who filled out this survey? _____ Male_____ Female Age – _____ 20 to 29_____ 40 to 49 _____ 30 to 39_____ 50 to 59 _____ Other _____ Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Parent _____ 4th – 6th Grade Parent

30 “Creating Ecological Literacy through Place-Based Educational Experiences” Watershed Survey As part of our ecological literacy grant to study the watershed awarded by the Foundations for Allen Schools, Montgomery Farm, and REI we are conducting a school wide survey. Please, take a few minutes to fill out the survey. Return it to your child’s homeroom teacher by Friday, May 30th. Thank you for your time and the information that you shared. This is not a graded assignment! 1. Do you know which lake(s) are the main water source for Allen, TX? _____ Lake Lavon_____ Lake Texoma _____ Lake Cooper_____ Lake Fork _____ Lake Tawakoni_____ Lake Ray Hubbard 2. Do you know which rivers or creeks in North Central Texas are part of the Trinity watershed? _____ Brazos River_____ Red River _____ Cottonwood Creek_____ Canadian River _____ Rowlett Creek_____ Watters Creek _____Do you know of any others?_________________________________________________ 3. What recreational activities would you most likely participate in near a waterway? _____ camping _____ waterskiing _____ canoeing/kayaking_____ birding _____ fishing _____ nature journaling _____other____________________________________________________ 4. If you had a choice to participate in a Keep Allen Beautiful program which would you chose to participate in? _____ Adopt a Highway_____ Adopt-a-Campus _____ Texas Recycle Days_____ Adopt-a-Waterway _____ Trees for Allen_____ other ___________________________ _____Do you have suggestions for Keep Allen Beautiful? 5. Which way would you prefer to see a newly constructed aquatic area in our community? _____ manicured to waters edge - public access_____ aquatic plants - limited public access _____ rocky edge - limited public access_____ tree lined – public access _____ it does not matter I would not use the aquatic area for any reason _____other_________________________________________________ 6. If an artificial waterway was build in the area which would you chose? _____ creek_____ swimming pool _____ pond_____ brook/stream _____ lake_____ wetlands Put an “X” where Norton Elementary would be located on this topographic map. Who filled out this survey? _____ Male_____ Female Age – _____ 20 to 29_____ 40 to 49 _____ 30 to 39_____ 50 to 59 _____ Other _____ Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Parent_____ 4th – 6th Grade Parent Thank you again for filling out this survey!


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