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Earth Tracks Newsletter Autumn 2023



News


Answer our survey! IdEEA wants to know what kind of resources and communication you want from us. Please take this quick SURVEY so we can better meet the needs of environmental educators around the state. All submissions will be entered into a drawing to receive a $25 gift certificate to use at the Outdoor Learning Store. Email us at communications@idahoee.org with any questions or additional comments.


Introducing IdEEA’s 2023 Fellows! We were very excited to have a number of educators from around the state apply to become a part of our inaugural fellowship program, the Climate Curriculum Cohort. We’ve accepted ten amazing educators to work together this school year in creating grade-level units based on the Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment and connected to Idaho’s science standards. More information about the Fellows, the program, and their progress will be posted online through the school year.


Take Me Outside Day is October 18. There’s a full week of fun happening along with it, including creating a huge mosaic of nature art. See more at https://takemeoutside.ca/tmoday/ and join the movement of taking learning outside!

The Forest Products Week Writing Contest is open through November 6. Idaho youth are encouraged to participate in the annual Forest Products Week Writing Contest with cash prizes offered for winning writers and their classrooms. Any Idaho student, K-12, may participate. Elementary students write a letter to a tree or forest, and middle & high school students will write a script for an audio Public Service Announcement. See https://www.idahoforests.org/content-item/writingcontest/ for writing prompts and contest guidelines.


Reading Wildly is excited to announce Douglas W. Tallamy’s Nature's Best Hope as our book selection for February 2024! An Eventbrite link will be provided soon with meeting information and details on purchasing your book through our local bookstore, Rediscovered Books. The Ada County Soil and Water District will be hosting Douglas Tallamy as their keynote speaker at the Harvest and Hearth event on February 9; he will also be speaking at BSU that same evening for the Ideas About Nature Lecture series.


Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being. In Nature's Best Hope, he takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots, home-grown approach to conservation. Nature's Best Hope advocates for homeowners everywhere to turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. This home-based approach doesn’t rely on the federal government, and protects the environment from the whims of politics. His suggestions are easy to practice, and readers will walk away with specific suggestions they can incorporate into their own yards.


Nature's Best Hope is nature writing at its best — rooted in history, progressive in its advocacy, and above all, actionable and hopeful. By proposing practical measures that ordinary people can easily do, Tallamy gives us reason to believe that the planet can be preserved for future generations. ~ Goodreads & Review - Mother Earth News


Professional Workshops

Ignite: Sparking Local Climate Change Conversations in Central Idaho. November 7-9, 2023 in McCall. Join Earth to Sky Idaho for three days of training with formal and informal educators from across Idaho. This workshop will expose participants to innovative pedagogy and techniques for framing climate change. We will focus on the science of wildfire in the context of global environmental change. Joined by fire ecologists, land managers, and local professors, we will explore the connections between global climate changes and Idahoans; changing patterns of fire in Idaho; tested ways to overcome barriers to effective climate change communication; demographics on Idahoans’ climate change opinions; effective use of storytelling to connect diverse audiences to science concepts. Workshop participation includes lodging & food; stipends for eligible informal educators; and 2 PD Credits through NNU, BSU, or U of I. Apply today: https://www.boisewatershed.org/programs-events/nasas-earth-to-sky-idaho/

Idaho Ecosystems workshop with Projects WET, WILD and Learning Tree. October 24-November 28, 2023 on Zoom. $45. More details and registration at: https://www.idahoforests.org/event/idaho-ecosystems-wild-wet-plt-oct-24-nov-28-2023/ Choose from: Fall 2023 (Oct. 28-Nov. 28) or Spring 2024 (Feb. 18-April 2).

Exploring Green Career Pathways with Middle and High School Students. In this free 1-hour webinar, receive tools to enhance middle and high school student awareness of the array of rewarding careers that await them in the Green Economy. We’ll discuss what green jobs are, why Idaho youth need to know this, experience an interactive lesson (that you’ll take with you – free!), and showcase the award-winning PLT Green Jobs Educator Guide and abundant supporting resources. Pre-registration required. Choose from October 10, 2023, 6-7 pm (MT)/5-6 pm (PT) and October 28, 2023, 10-11 am (MT)/9-10 am (PT).

Project Learning Tree Explorations – Anytime, Anywhere. In this self-guided 1-credit virtual training, you will select a specific Project Learning Tree (PLT) environmental education curriculum as your focus and complete an online training on that material. In addition, you will conduct PLT activities, explore abundant supporting resources, and reflect and plan how you’ll use PLT in your individual situation. We always have a section of this class open. Get links for Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024.


Outdoor Play-Based Learning. October 16-November 20, online. This 6-part virtual series invites educators and play practitioners to wonder and uncover our assumptions and expectations for play. We will work towards collective transformation through outdoor play-based learning by weaving together research, practical experience, individual reflection and insights for a playful future. Hosted by expert practitioners to guide the sharing and community building space. 5 PM Mountain for each 75-minute session. Cost is between $90-120, depending on what you can afford. More information and registration at https://outdoorlearningstore.com/event/outdoor-play-based-learning/

See all of the Outdoor Learning opportunities for this fall! https://outdoorlearningstore.com/2023/08/25/30-opportunities-events-for-fall/

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly is accepting applications for 2024 Earth Expeditions graduate courses. These extraordinary experiences at global field sites in 15 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas can build toward the Global Field Program (GFP), a master's degree that combines summer field courses worldwide with web learning communities so that students can complete the GFP master's part-time from anywhere in the United States or abroad. Applications are being accepted until January 28 with courses beginning in May 2024. Project Dragonfly also offers the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) master's degree that combines web instruction from Miami University with face-to-face experiential learning and field study through several AIP sites in the U.S. Applications for Miami's 2024 cohorts are being now being accepted until February 28, with place-based experiences provided at zoos and botanical gardens in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York, San Diego, and St. Louis. The Miami University Graduate School will waive the $50 application fee for those who attend an Information Session preceding the fee payment step of the application process.


2024 Take Me Outside conference. May 9-11, 2024 in Banff, Alberta, Canada. https://takemeoutside.ca/conference/


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities


NAAEE is hiring for several positions!

Volunteer Field Instructors needed at the Bogus Basin SnowSchool. Now in its 19 th year, Bogus Basin’s SnowSchool field trip program aims to get students outside to learn about snow science and winter ecology in the Boise National Forest. With snowshoes on their feet and the guidance of field instructors, students explore the natural environment in a way that complements classroom curriculum. SnowSchool Volunteers work directly with local 3rd -12th grade students and teach snow science and winter ecology outdoors while snowshoeing in the winter environment. Interested? Email josie@bogusbasin.org to learn more and see our Feature Article on SnowSchool below.


Resources & Grants

Outdoor Learning Resource Suggestions from Strong Nations. We’re delighted to be able to offer a list of resources from Strong Nations, a publishing company that helps share Indigenous voices. The resource list has been curated for Idaho and can be found on IdEEA’s Resource page or directly HERE.

The Early Bird Gets FREE K-5 Lessons. For a limited time, Project Learning Tree is offering a FREE download of its new activity collection, Together for Birds. With these place-based lessons, elementary students investigate ways that birds and other living beings depend on their habitat to live. Content areas include ELA, Science, Math, Physical Education and Visual Arts. Idaho PLT has curated local resources for these fun and effective learning activities, along with correlations to Idaho standards. Access your free activity set and get Idaho resources at https://www.idahoforests.org/content-item/plt-featured-lessons/.

Soil health education and outreach program from the Ada County Soil and Water Conservation District. Now is the perfect time to get on the schedule for classroom visits this school year. We have added some exciting new lessons to our classroom-based outreach offerings this year including a series of lessons designed for middle grade students on the carbon cycle! All of our classroom lessons are aligned to grade level science standards and include hands-on, investigative elements students enjoy. Details and scheduling at https://www.adaswcd.org/classroom-outreach.

Inclusive Communications for the Water Movement from The River Network. As more and more outreach and education moves online, it’s critical to ensure that our communications practices are accessible, ethical, and welcoming to all users and audiences – but sometimes, it’s also hard to know where to begin. This guide from The River Network is a first step in delivering this specific support—and combining these two important topics for river, justice, and water organizations—to the network. Read more and download the guide at https://www.rivernetwork.org/inclusive-communications-for-the-water-movement/

The U.S. EPA will supply up to $3.6 million to fund locally-focused environmental education grants through the 2023 Environmental Education (EE) Local Grant Program. EPA will award grants in each of EPA’s 10 Regions, between $50,000-$100,000 each, for a total of 30-40 grants nationwide. Each of the 10 EPA Regions published a solicitation notice with their respective regional details. Applicants must apply to the Regional NOFO that corresponds with the location of their proposed project. Visit the new EPA Grants Community Library of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and the EE grant FAQ webpages to learn more about the current competition and the federal grant process. Find out background information on the EE Grants Program and resources for applicants on EPA’s EE Grant Homepage. Applications are due on November 8, 2023, and the Notice of Funding Opportunities are now posted on www.grants.gov and the EE Grant Solicitation Notice webpage. The Office of Environmental Education will also host at least one webinar during the open solicitation period on how to write a competitive application and to address commonly asked questions. Once confirmed, webinar registration details will be available on https://www.epa.gov/education/grants#webinar.


Upcoming Events


Oct 3-Nov 14: Outdoor Learning Fall Virtual Workshop Series. Tuesdays, through November 2023. Outdoor Learning through Patterns in Nature (10/3); Connecting Children to Nature through Indigenous Teachings (10/17); and BE OUT - A New Outdoor Learning Tool for Teacher Success (11/14). Details and registration at outdoorlearningstore.com.


October 10: Green Career Pathways. See information in the Professional Workshops section above.


October 12: EPA EE Grant application webinar. Register here to join from 11:00-12:30 pm MT.


Oct 15: Four Seasons of Indigenous Learning. Details and registration at outdoorlearningstore.com/event/presentations. Course runs Oct 2023-June 2024 but registration closes October 15.


October 16-November 20: Outdoor Play-Based Learning. See information in the Professional Workshops section above.

October 24-November 28: Idaho Ecosystems workshop with Projects WET, WILD and Learning Tree. See information in the Professional Workshops section above.

Nov 1: Hope, Health, and the Climate Crisis. A virtual presentation from 2023 St. Luke's Health System Climate and Health Lecture Series with Dr. Howard Frumkin. 12-1 PM. Click for additional details and registration.


Nov 7-9: NASA Earth to Sky workshop. See information in the Professional Workshops section above.


Nov 15: The Health Benefits of Climate Action. A virtual presentation from 2023 St. Luke's Health System Climate and Health Lecture Series with Dr. Gaurab Basu. 12-1 PM. Click for additional details and registration.


Jan 17, 2024: Nature Activities for Learners. Join The Outdoor Learning Store for this series of 4 x 60 minute virtual sessions for Elementary and Middle School Educators to improve the nature activities you provide for learners. Come away with practical, cross-curricular, hands-on activities and skills! Online from January 17-February 21, 2024. Details and registration at https://outdoorlearningstore.com/event/nature-activities/


March 27, 2024: Wild Learning. This course from The Outdoor Learning Store will include guided conversations, activities and discussion with the author, practical activities for you to try and get feedback on, and community building with other educators while discovering how to deliver your own ‘Wild Learning’. Details and registration at https://outdoorlearningstore.com/event/wild-learning/.


EE Spotlight - Snow School

IdEEA’s Learn Local series features innovative educators, ideas, projects, and lessons from Idaho’s community of educators who utilize place-based education.


INTRODUCING 35,000 KIDS TO WINTER EVERY SEASON

A bright yellow school bus pulls up to a frozen parking lot in the middle of winter. The doors open. Out come dozens of fifth-graders in puffy jackets, mittens, and hats. Today, these students are going to strap on snowshoes, romp around the snow, dig pits, study snow crystals, and learn about their watershed. This is SnowSchool, a national educational program of Winter Wildlands Alliance

SnowSchool is a bridge connecting kids to snow science, winter recreation and their local watershed. Designed for kindergarten to high school students, the STEM-based curriculum combines a field trip in the snow with classroom presentations. Students learn about hydrology, winter ecology, wildlife, and snow crystals. They also make a vital connection between the snowpack—source of more than 80% of our water in the West—and the water they drink every day.

Every year, SnowSchool works with 35,000 students at 70 sites across the country. For many of these students, winter is a new experience. A majority attend Title 1 schools with large populations of low-income families. For more than half, SnowSchool is their first time strapping on a pair of snowshoes. Our educators are outdoor enthusiasts who want to share their passion for winter and adventure with kids.

In Idaho, our SnowSchool sites reach thousands of kids each winter. Find a site near you:

IdEEA Updates


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About this newsletter

Four times per year, we bring you the latest Environmental Education resources, events, and opportunities from around Idaho. You can be a part of this process by sharing resources, events, jobs, etc. with communications@idahoee.org under the subject “Newsletter” by December 22, 2023 for inclusion in the fall edition being mailed in early January 2024.

Grow our reach by sharing this message with your contacts and having them subscribe to our mailing list at http://idahoee.org. If this message has reached you in error and you’d like to be removed, you can unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of this message.


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