- New Pittsboro Farm & Forest Trail Open: EE Certification Projects Part of Project (2016-05-19)
- Summer Lunchtime Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Week (2016-05-19)
- Environmental Educator Spotlight – Amy Kinsella (2016-04-27)
- River Basin Publications Win Printing Industry Award (2016-04-25)
- National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals Held in Morehead City, NC (2016-04-22)
- State environmental agency encourages public to take part in Earth Day events (2016-04-18)
- Environmental Education is a “Natural” Fit for Libraries, Says Syracuse U Professor (2016-04-07)
- Science in the Great Outdoors (2016-04-05)
- Ranger Uses Environmental Education to Improve River Health and Educate Kids About the Environment (2016-03-31)
- NC's Environmental Education Website – Notice Something New? (2016-03-18)
- Sara Hallas Receives Conservation Communicator Award (2016-03-01)
- McCrory’s Environmental Department Connects NC Educators With Jobs (2016-01-21)
- NC Department of Public Instruction Hosts 5th Annual Meeting for Nonformal Educators (2015-12-14)
- NAAEE Hails History-Making Opportunities for Environmental Learning in Congressional Education Bill (2015-12-09)
- New K-12 Education Bill Passes House, Will Strengthen Environmental Education (2015-12-04)
- Partnership Assists Migrating Monarch Butterflies in Western North Carolina While Educating the Public (2015-11-19)
- Make That Viral Animal Video a Teachable Moment (2015-10-16)
- A New GIS River Basin Map Available to Educators (2015-09-21)
- Celebrate Take A Child Outside Week (2015-09-16)
- Kelsie Armentrout to Receive Governor's Conservation Achievement Award for Environmental Educator of the Year (2015-09-09)
- As school begins, let’s keep children in touch with nature (2015-09-02)
- Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators - Now Available (2015-08-24)
- Young NC Citizen Scientist Donates Valuable Specimen to Museum of Natural Sciences (2015-08-07)
- State Parks, Museum of Natural Sciences Partner to Make Kids "Dragonfly Detectives" (2015-08-06)
- Wake County Teacher Uses N.C. Environmental Education Certification to Benefit School and Community (2015-08-03)
New Pittsboro Farm & Forest Trail Open: EE Certification Projects Part of Project
Summer Lunchtime Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Week
This guest lecture series is hosted by the Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and features professionals from a wide range of environmental and science backgrounds representing local and state agencies, colleges and universities and organizations throughout the state.
Attendees are able to learn about a variety of subjects first-hand and interact directly with some of the best experts in their respective fields. In some cases, participants even head outdoors to explore urban nature, local architecture and green rooftops! The presentations are provided as professional development opportunities for downtown employees and is open to the public.
Lectures are held in the office’s Environmental Literacy Center from noon until 1:00 p.m. The upcoming series includes presentations from Robin Moore from the Natural Learning Initiative with “Natural Play and Learning,” Dr. Adrian Smith from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences with “Social Insect Chemical Communication,” and Greg Morris from Walnut Creek Wetland Center who will lead an interpretive walking tour of the capital area’s tree species. The full line up can be found at http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/resource-center-elc.html
Environmental Educator Spotlight – Amy Kinsella
Kinsella worked with an Eagle Scout group to complete a nature trail for an elementary school for her environmental education community partnership project. She assisted with identifying the trees on the trail and designating educational points along the trail. She worked with the local correction system to have engraved signs designed for identifying the trees on the nature trail.
River Basin Publications Win Printing Industry Award
PICA represents the graphic communications industry in North and South Carolina. Since 1931, this trade association has been dedicated to advancing the success of the Carolinas’ printing and imaging industry. Working together with Printing Industries of America, the world’s largest graphic arts trade association, PICA provides training, resources, and a voice of advocacy on both a state and national level.
National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals Held in Morehead City, NC
The text below features selections from the NOSB Media Advisory shared by N.C. Sea Grant.
Read the complete Media Advisory, with a list of teams and sponsors
Top High-School Scholars to Compete in 19th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl
Contact: Allison Hays, 202-787-1644, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2016 as a courtesy to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.
North Carolina Sea Grant is among the North Carolina sponsors for the event. Follow the events via Twitter: #NOSB16.NOSB
|North Carolina is being represented at NOSB by |
Walter Williams High School (Alamance County) Good luck!
WHO: Winning teams consisting of four to five high school students from 24 regional competitions will compete in the 19th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), an education competition that tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. The competition consists of buzzer-style, multiple-choice questions; longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions; and the Science Expert Briefing, a mock congressional hearing where students present science recommendations on a piece of legislation, bettering their understanding on how science informs policy.
WHAT: The theme for this year’s NOSB Finals is “Our Changing Ocean: Science for Strong Coastal Communities.” This topic encompasses numerous scientific disciplines and encourages an increased understanding of the science needed to sustain strong coastal communities, including improving community awareness; addressing erosion and increasing coastal populations and development; restoring coastlines; protecting estuarine ecosystems and services; and improving coastal disaster projection, preparedness, and response. During the finals competition weekend, students will participate in a number of hands-on science activities, including a career mentoring event with leaders in the science field; a tour of Duke Marine Lab; and multiple field trips, including behind-the-scenes looks at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, a shark tagging trip aboard the R/V Capricorn, and a coastal marsh cleanup at Fort Macon State Park. The top teams at the NOSB Finals will receive an all-expense paid award trip to various locations around the world to conduct scientific research with field experts.
WHEN: April 21-24, 2016 — April 21: career event; April 22: field trips and opening ceremony; April 23-24: NOSB Finals Competition
WHERE: Carteret Community College, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, North Carolina WHY: Most high-school students do not have the opportunity to study ocean science as part of their formal coursework. To fill this void, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., created the NOSB as an educational forum to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy-makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates, and informed citizens to be stewards of the ocean. Many past NOSB participants have pursued college degrees and careers in ocean science, helping to solve the growing environmental, economic, and security challenges facing our ocean and planet.
State environmental agency encourages public to take part in Earth Day events
Trail hikes, stream clean-ups, nature tours, music and more await those who want to explore and learn about North Carolina’s diverse environment. The public can also follow and share events, environmental education news and cool nature stories on Twitter and Facebook by following and using the hashtag #NCEarthDay. Many of these Earth Day events are also part of the N.C. Science Festival, which lasts through April 24th. For more information N.C. Science Festival events near you, see ncsciencefestival.org
DEQ employees will be volunteering their time on Earth Day as well. The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs is coordinating a DEQ Earth Day volunteer event on Friday, April 22. Raleigh area employees will be participating a stream clean up along a restored section of Rocky Branch that runs through N.C. State campus. Rocky Branch, a tributary of the Neuse, was once considered the most polluted stream in North Carolina. It now provides wildlife habitat, stormwater control, recreation and transportation along the Rocky Branch Greenway.
Environmental Education is a “Natural” Fit for Libraries, Says Syracuse U Professor
Science in the Great Outdoors
Blog post by Sean Higgins, Interpretation & Education Manger, North Carolina State Parks
Ranger Uses Environmental Education to Improve River Health and Educate Kids About the Environment
A park ranger from Hanging Rock State Park is making a difference in communities across North Carolina through environmental education. Darius Pollard completed the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program offered through the Department of Environmental Quality, which he began as an AmeriCorps member at New River State Park in Ashe County.
NC's Environmental Education Website – Notice Something New?
The system also allows the participating states to share postings for grants, jobs, curriculum and other resources, greatly maximizing the capacity of each individual state’s educational outreach mission. Many of these shared services were provided free to the office through this collaborative grant.
Some examples of what you might be missing on the site:
A statewide listing of educational facilities such as parks, nature and science centers, museums, botanical gardens, arboretums, coastal reserves, educational state forests, the NC Aquariums and Zoo.
New resources such as the Egret Curriculum, a place-based curriculum designed to increase knowledge of current watershed science and environmental issues related to the Tar-Pamlico watershed in North Carolina and that aligns all lessons with 5th grade core curriculum and essential standards.
A statewide listing of jobs and internships in the field of environmental education.
Opportunities for grantsand contests.
A thriving online community of educators through a statewide listserv, Twitter and Facebook
So check out the updated site and join the state's community of environmental educators.
Sara Hallas Receives Conservation Communicator Award
Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator with the N.C. Coastal Federation and a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator was honored for her outstanding environmental education and outreach efforts by the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
From the N.C. Coastal Federation's Coastal Review Online.
RALEIGH — Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator with the N.C. Coastal Federation’s northeast office in Manteo, recently received the 2016 Conservation Communicator Award from the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
The award, presented Saturday in Raleigh, honored Hallas’ outstanding environmental education and outreach, including organizing the Coastal Environmental Educators Network, a coalition of environmental education organizations and professionals in northeastern North Carolina. The network’s mission is to create a sense of value for the region’s natural and cultural resources through partnership and networking. The network consists of more than 30 member organizations, including state, federal, university and nonprofit organizations.
To read the full story, visit the Coastal Review Online at http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/02/hallas-named-2016-conservation-communicator
McCrory’s Environmental Department Connects NC Educators With Jobs
NC Department of Public Instruction Hosts 5th Annual Meeting for Nonformal Educators
This marks the fifth year for the meeting. Educators representing a wide variety of nonprofit and city, county, state and federal agencies and facilities, including, nature centers, science museums, gardens, arboretums, aquariums, state parks, the N.C. Forest Service, the Wildlife Resources Commission and Soil and Water Conservation Districts attended. The participants shared ways they can improve standards-based program offerings for schools and partner more effectively with teachers, school administrators and the Department of Public Instruction. “North Carolina has a unique partnership that encourages collaboration between schools, school districts, NC DPI and the nonformal education community to support science learning and environmental literacy,” said Debra Hall, elementary science consultant for the Department of Public Instruction.
The meeting provides an opportunity for educators to get updates on curriculum standards for NC DPI and instructs them on how to access support documents and resources to help them align their educational programs and field trips with the state’s essential standards for science. Participants heard from several guests speakers, including Renee Strnad with Extension Forestry at North Carolina State University who gave an overview of the North American Association’s Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education. These guidelines set professional standards for environmental literacy and work in concert with both national and state level educational standards.
Chris Goforth, the head of citizen science with the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, spoke to the group on how citizen science can be used to engage classroom teachers and students in authentic science experiences. Tom Randolph, lead interpretation and education ranger with Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area, discussed best practices for curriculum-based programs and field trips emphasizing hands-on, outdoor experiences for students and their connection to better classroom performance.
The meeting was held on the same day that the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed into law. The Every Student Succeeds Act includes language that supports environmental education and environmental literacy programs. The act also supports hands-on learning” and “field-based or service learning” to enhance understanding of STEM subjects which will provide additional opportunities for environmental science education programs. “North Carolina has one of the strongest nonformal environmental education communities in country and the inclusion of field-based environmental science support in the Every Student Succeeds Act will further enhance the already diverse and effective environmental science programming in our state,” said Lisa Tolley, program manager with the Department of Environmental Quality.
NAAEE Hails History-Making Opportunities for Environmental Learning in Congressional Education Bill
North American Association for Environmental Education sees passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or ESEA) as big win, opening avenues for students and teachers in environmental and nature literacy.
New K-12 Education Bill Passes House, Will Strengthen Environmental Education
“ESSA is a tremendous victory for advocates of environmental education who’ve fought long and hard to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards with outdoor, hands-on learning programs,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing a comprehensive education reform package that has immense benefits for students, teachers and schools across the country.”
The environmental education provision contained in ESSA comes from the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI), a bipartisan bill authored by Congressman Sarbanes that is designed to enhance American students’ environmental literacy. First introduced in 2007, NCLI was reintroduced this year in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Sarbanes and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) with the support of 41 original co-sponsors. It was also reintroduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
NCLI would provide federal grant funding for teachers who design and implement environmental education programs in, and importantly, outside of the classroom. By encouraging new environmental curricula, the bill would also cultivate partnerships and strengthen relationships between school districts, colleges, environmental nonprofits, parks and other community-based organizations.
ESSA is expected to pass the Senate next week and advance to the President’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. In addition to improving environmental education, the bill contains a number of reforms that will help provide American students with a high-quality, twenty-first century education, including:
- Helping states improve low-performing schools and enhance teacher quality;
- Setting higher standards and improving learning outcomes for all students;
- Dedicating more funding to bolster STEM education, student health and literacy initiatives and afterschool programs;
- Identifying and acting on ways to close the achievement gap;
- Strengthening access to, and the quality of, early childhood education programs;
- Maintaining important information about student performance; and
- Providing greater funding flexibility to better support students and school.
Partnership Assists Migrating Monarch Butterflies in Western North Carolina While Educating the Public
Chelsea worked with Nina Veteto, the founder of Monarch Rescue, Tom Fanslow with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and other AmeriCorps Project Conserve members to establish the patch of milkweed that will aid the monarchs during fall migration.
The habitat is located on property managed by Super-Sod, a sod farm in Horse Shoe, North Carolina. It is protected by a conservation easement on about 340 acres, and a buffer easement on about three miles of the French Broad River. The property includes a common area that is not currently being utilized and is mowed regularly into a lawn. “This area provided the perfect location to plant a pollinator habitat. As monarchs lose habitat around the country, it is important to create new areas for them to feed, mate, and grow,” said Ms. Rath.
Make That Viral Animal Video a Teachable Moment
(*Remember the infamous Jennette's Pier lancetfish?)
A New GIS River Basin Map Available to Educators
The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs now provides an online GIS River Basin map for educators. The new interactive map allows you to explore your river basin or learn more about any of the 17 river basins in North Carolina. You can click on each basin to learn about the diversity of plants and animals found in our beautiful state.
There are more North Carolina River Basin resources at eenorthcarolina.org/riverbasins.html, including river basin lesson plans developed by North Carolina classroom teachers, nonformal educators and office staff. The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs welcomes new lesson plan or activity ideas based on the new GIS map or existing river basin materials. Please share your ideas with us on Twitter, Facebook or email Tracy Weidert, River Basin Education Program Manager at Tracy.Weidert@ncdenr.gov
Celebrate Take A Child Outside Week
The N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs invites you to take part in a nationwide effort to connect children to the natural world. “Take a Child Outside” is designed to help children develop an appreciation for the outdoors by giving parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers information on nature activities and places to visit.
Take a Child Outside Week is held in conjunction with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and partner organizations throughout the U.S. and around the world. The program encourages all citizens to participate in outdoor activities from September 24-30, 2015.
Organizations and agencies across the state including parks, nature and science centers, museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, etc. are hosting events during the week. There are many opportunities to take your child, grandchild or students outdoors. You can visit the North Carolina Environmental Education Calendar to search for Take a Child Outside activities being offered across the state.
You can also participate by making a pledge to take a child outside and help them experience the natural world on the Take a Child Outside website. The program is designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world, and to provide resources and recreational activities for exploring local habitats.
Many state attractions and other environmental education centers have events planned. You can view all the events and programs going on during the week on the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website.
Here are a few highlights of some of the Take a Child Outside Events hosted by state agencies:
N.C. State Parks will feature special events and ranger-led programs including fun hikes and nature education programs that introduce children and families to the outdoors. Children will be working towards earning their North Carolina Junior Ranger certificate and patch at some parks. State Parks offer many activities for memories to be made including picnicking, canoeing, camping and hiking. Check out all of the Take a Child Outside events happening at State Parks online at http://www.ncparks.gov/find-an-activity/take-child-outside-week
The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is hosting a Salt Marsh and Crabbing Program for ages 7 and up. This hands-on, outdoor program introduces participants to the challenge of catching blue crabs. Lessons in crab biology and crabbing equipment prepare participants for an exciting expedition through the salt marsh to catch and release crabs. For more information, visit http://reservations.ncaquariums.com/fortfisher/Info.aspx?EventID=12
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is hosting seven Wildlife Expos and other events to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 26, at various locations from Corolla to Brevard. There will be free, family-oriented events that highlight the state’s extraordinary hunting and fishing heritage and remarkable wildlife conservation efforts through the years. Interactive activities and demonstrations vary for each event, but all provide unique opportunities for participants of all ages to connect with nature and test their outdoors skills. For more information visit the commission’s website at
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Prairie Ridge EcoStation invites families to explore the outdoors on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Come at any time during the event to visit the Nature PlaySpace to enjoy some hands-on nature activities. Activities also include: 10:00 am, Nature Stories, in the amphitheater; 10:30 am, Citizen Science Saturday walk, entrance kiosk (best for children 8 years+); 11:15, Nature Stories-Music, in the amphitheater. For information contact: Cathy Fergen at Cathy.Fergen@naturalsciences.org or 919-707-8878.
The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs is proud to join with the Museum of Natural Sciences in this effort, and believes children want to embrace and explore their world. This exploration shapes their lifelong relationship with their parents and the environment. Stress reduction, greater physical health, more creativity and a sense of play are just some of the many benefits for a family when it invites nature into their lives. Take a Child Outside is held annually, September 24-30.
Be sure to check out the environmental education calendar for events going on near you on the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs' website. You can search the calendar using your zip code or city.
Kelsie Armentrout to Receive Governor's Conservation Achievement Award for Environmental Educator of the Year
Kelsie says her experiences with the eMammal program helped engage her students in science. “Having the opportunity for the students to see their research and their data collection directly impact actual scientists can really open a whole new door for them,” she said.
As school begins, let’s keep children in touch with nature
From Amber Veverka, a master naturalist and N.C. certified environmental educator in Charlotte:
The kindergarteners that day were wide-eyed.
We’d gathered in a courtyard outside their Charlotte classroom for a hands-on lesson in investigating the natural world. I was a volunteer, eager to explore alongside them.
“What is nature?” I asked the kids seated around me. They peppered the air with their answers. But the one I can’t forget was from the little girl in ponytails who said, solemnly, “Nature is something you should never, ever touch.”
If I ever needed confirmation that we – and our children – are alienated from the natural world, that little girl’s response supplied it.
School is back in session, and families like mine are again swept along in a rush of drop-offs, bus rides and after-school activities. If we aren’t intentional, the school year tide can pull all of us into an indoor life. It’s dark in the morning. Kids are loaded down with homework at night. In between, they’re in classrooms and we’re in offices.
We’re born loving creation, recognizing instinctively that we belong in the grass, under the trees, within earshot of birdsong. But the entire arc of our culture – particularly the culture of an overscheduled, urban center such as Charlotte – veers away from these first loves. We get jobs. We get busy. We live our days in cubicles and cars.
I urge all of us to make this school year one in which we and our children spend more time in nature. It’s not always easy. But it’s possible...
Read the rest here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article32660136.html#storylink=cpy
Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators - Now Available
The second edition of Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators has been released through the North American Association for Environmental Education, the University of Florida and Cornell University.
Environmental educators are joining forces with youth and community development professionals; museums, zoos, and botanical gardens; and urban green space managers and planners to come up with new practices that reflect societal concerns. Many of these practices occur outside of the classroom, involve youth and elders working together, and engage a diversity of professionals and participants in urban as well as suburban and rural communities.
New chapters may be added as new practices emerge and opportunities for public online feedback on individual chapters are planned.
Young NC Citizen Scientist Donates Valuable Specimen to Museum of Natural Sciences
Last Friday (7/31/2015), the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences Crustacean Collection received an exciting and important donation: an Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon. The donation was made by Jimmy Epps, who caught the shrimp in autumn 2014 in his casting net in Bogue Sound, Carteret Co., NC. Jimmy officially recorded his catch via the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database.
The specimen is a rare red-striped morph, which, in combination with its fantastic provenance data, is an invaluable addition to the Collection as it provides critical data for conservation efforts, and will undoubtedly play an important role in education and outreach about invasive species at and beyond the Museum.
The Asian tiger shrimp is native to tropical marine habitats of the Indo-West Pacific, but as a staple of global aqua-farming beginning in the late 1960s, has been widely introduced beyond the bounds of its native range. The species was first reported from coastal waters of the southeastern U.S. in
1988 following the escape of ~2,000 shrimp from a SC aquaculture facility. Hundreds of Asian tiger shrimp were captured in trawl nets during the first couple of months post-escape. Interestingly, the species subsequently went unreported from coastal U.S. waters for an 18 year stretch, resurfacing off the Gulf coast of Alabama in 2006. Reports since the 2006 Alabama sighting indicate that the Asian tiger shrimp has spread extensively along southeastern and Gulf coasts of the U.S., from North Carolina to Texas (http://www.wsj.com/news/interactive/SHRIMP0907).
State Parks, Museum of Natural Sciences Partner to Make Kids "Dragonfly Detectives"
Wake County Teacher Uses N.C. Environmental Education Certification to Benefit School and Community
When considering options for his project, Bill noticed that there were a lot of people using the high school from the community. “The school is a traditional high school but also houses a public library, night classes and summer classes creating a very active community use situation,” Bill said. He saw this as an opportunity to educate people about the plants and landscape of the school while providing a place to teach students about native plants and their uses.
Placards were used to label the plants and include the common and scientific names and information about how the plants are used by both people and animals. An outdoor classroom area was also constructed for teaching in the arboretum and for use by Athens Drive and Wake Technical Community College teachers. The classroom area is adjacent to the walkway and provides a quiet place to learn and teach.
Bill’s enthusiasm for nature and the outdoors isn’t new. He discovered his love for the outdoors at an early age through his parents. “I learned to love the outdoors at an early age camping with my parents at Julian Price Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We often took weekends to camp, hike and canoe. My parents were both avid birders and my dad took me on canoe trips all through my teens. I credit my folks with my love of the outdoors and educating people about the need for preserving it,” he said.