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Earth Tracks Newsletter March 2024


News


New PD course from Take Me Outside and The Outdoor Learning StoreThis comprehensive 30 hour online course will certify K-12 educators in integrating outdoor learning into their teaching practice. This certification program will provide the foundations of outdoor, environmental and place-based pedagogies with practical and tangible resources at the ready.


Rediscovered Books "Reading Wildly" Book Club is thrilled to present a special Coffee Book Club with author DJ Green! Join us for a lively discussion of their latest book No More Empty Spaces and see how nature and humans collide. This in-person event promises to be engaging and insightful, perfect for bookworms looking to dive into a new story and connect with fellow readers. Don't miss this opportunity to meet the author and immerse yourself in the world of Reading Wildly Book Club!

Come talk about No More Empty Spaces, meet author DJ Green while meeting new people and enjoying a tasty treat from Stella's Ice Cream. 

Eventbrite $30 Ticket includes a copy of No More Empty Spaces, afternoon treats from Stella's Ice Cream, and a chance to visit with the author as a part of our Book Club.  


My Life Outdoors invites Idaho teens to share their outdoor experiences (living, working, playing, or simply being outside) through words or videos that capture their profound connection to the natural environment. Teens may submit their Idaho experience as either a written essay with a photo or as a video essay (see guidelines below). In a world filled with the constant hum of distractions, hearing these stories can inspire others to step outside, explore, and create their own lasting memories. Submit stories at this link between February 8, 2024 - March 27, 2024. For more information on amazing prizes for winning submissions or more details on how to enter, visit the Contest Rules and Info page here.


FREE GIS mapping program for your classroom! Idaho’s state office of ITS is looking for students, teachers, and schools to take advantage of ESRI’s free GIS software for schools and to create innovative and engaging GIS projects and Story Maps to compete with peers around the state for recognition and prizes…and an opportunity to represent Idaho at the national level. See the website for more details: https://gis.idaho.gov/gis-online-competition-for-idaho-students

 

Faces of Agriculture: USDA Career Panel for youth. This virtual speaker series will feature current USDA researchers, scientists, technicians, engineers, foresters, and other STEM-related program managers. These virtual sessions will allow students from high school and college students from Minority Serving Institutions as well as School Districts to engage with current USDA professionals. Participants will learn about the stories of USDA employees, their career paths, and exciting projects and initiatives that serve the public interest. The USDA hopes this opportunity will inspire the next generation of agricultural workforce! 


Background on Community Lead Awareness sessions. Community Lead Awareness Sessions will be held in our region to improve the general public’s awareness about lead (Pb) and prevent childhood lead exposure using sessions based on EPA’s Lead Awareness Curriculum. As part of the initiative we offer two different sessions: Understanding Lead and Train-the-Trainer sessions

  • “Train-the-Trainer” is a three-hour educational session for community leaders with experience educating and training members of their community who would like to educate others about lead. During the session, participants will: learn about the Lead Awareness Curriculum materials; participate in demonstrations using parts of the curriculum; discuss how to use and modify the curriculum for their community; and receive a copy of the curriculum and certificate of participation.

  • “Understanding Lead” is a 90-minute educational session for community members, including parents, grandparents, caregivers, tribal members, child care workers, healthcare providers, youth (ages 12 and up), and anyone interested in learning more about lead, its impacts and actions to reduce and prevent lead exposure. This session can be modified and shortened to meet audience needs.


Professional Workshops

Research Experience for Teachers at Boise State This six-eight week summer research experience is for teachers and includes a few EE-related topics, such as solar energy and efficient transportation research. The RET at Boise State will expose STEM teachers to research techniques, instrumentation, and personnel that will better equip them to teach and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The culminating experience will be the ASM Materials Camp®-Teachers (22-26 July), an idea-generating workshop introducing teachers to methods that make math and core science principles more enticing and relevant to their middle- and high-school students. Teachers will leave being able to engage their students with simple, low-cost experiments that integrate into existing lesson plans. Participants are eligible to receive four Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and can opt for two graduate-level credits. There is no cost to REU Program participants! Teachers selected to participate in the RET receive a $1000 stipend per week. Limited housing is provided on the Boise State campus.

Free Spring Series of 6 x 60 minute Outdoor Learning Virtual Workshops are now live! https://outdoorlearningstore.com/workshops These 6 free workshops bring together 19 amazing presenters & partners

April 16: The Wonders of Water: Practical Ideas and Resources for Educators

April 23: Invasive Species Education and Action

April 30: Developing a Sense of Place by Sparking Curiosity and Wonder

May 21: Recursos en español para aprender al aire libre

May 28: Using Sit Spots and your Senses to Connect with Nature

June 4: Métis Learning for the Summer Solstice

Each workshop comes complete with a certificate of attendance, access to the recording, discounts for outdoor learning tools & resources, and entry for some great prizes! 


Resources & Grants


Earn a $250 grant to help youth learn about forests and trees. Idaho Forest Products Council is accepting proposals for Forest Education Grants! Deadline is March 15, 2024. Apply now!


Wildsight and Outdoor Learning have a brand new learning kit.  The comprehensive Animal Tracks & Traces Teaching Kit gives learners the opportunity to discover animal tracks and traces, while allowing them to see a hidden world. This kit includes:

  1. Stories in the Wild: Tracking Ground Sheet & Resources

  2. Track Pack: Coyote, Deer, Squirrel, Hare, Owl, Crow (replicas)

  3. Scat Pack: Coyote, Deer, Mouse, Squirrel (replicas) 

  4. Animal Tracks & Traces Fold-out Nature Guide


Ada Soil & Water Conservation District Free conservation education programming available to your students. This programming does not require costly entrance fees or transportation costs. We bring the program to you! Additionally, programming can be conducted in the classroom or in an outdoor space at your school. 


Art Contests for EE 


Healthy Tree, Healthy Me Photo Contest This year’s theme is Healthy Tree, Healthy Me. 

Did you know that exposure to trees and forests, as well as wood in your home or school, can help your mind, body, and soul? They help boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve your mood, help you focus, help you get well faster when you’re sick, improve sleep and increase your energy level. That’s not all! Healthy trees and forests provide clean air and water; beautiful places to play and relax; homes for birds, fish and other wildlife; shade and shelter from wind, resulting in energy savings; carbon capture and storage; products for people; and jobs and revenues for local communities. Don’t forget their superpower! With proper care, trees are renewable. When trees are harvested, new ones grow or can be planted. 

Give Us Your Best Shot!

To enter the contest, you’ll need three important things:

  1. Wonderful photo(s) (up to two)

  2. Caption for each photo (just a few words or a sentence)

  3. A brief photographer’s statement  that describes what  Healthy Tree, Healthy Me means to you and how your photo relates to the theme

  4. Entry deadline is APRIL 8, 2024


Diane Moore Nature Center Art Contest Hello educators! As many of you know, we are working on developing the Diane Moore Nature Center along the Boise River. This is the location of our bird banding field trips and habitat projects, and also a site where we are planning interpretive trails and signage. We hope to have signs marking trails and thanking various donors to the project, and we'd love to have these decorated with original artwork from students. We're looking for art featuring all kinds of species, not just birds. This is not a formal "contest" per se since we won't be declaring any winners. We will select our favorite artwork to feature on our signs, as well as IBO's website and online communications. Students who are selected will be notified by email once we choose their submission. We'd love to showcase their creativity! If you or your students have any questions feel free to email Heidi W. Carlisle, Education and Outreach Director. Intermountain Bird Observatory


Ada Soil & Water Conservation District conservation focused student poster contest. The theme for this year's contest is "May The Forest Be With You Always." Forests play a vital role in healthy ecosystems by reducing erosion, storing carbon, producing oxygen, protecting watersheds, and supporting biodiverse organisms. Conservation of the world's forests is an essential part of helping our planet mitigate the impacts of climate change.

We would love for your students to submit creative and educational poster entries communicating the value of forests to our planet and why their conservation is so important.

  1. Posters must be at least 14 x 22 to be considered.

  2. The student’s name/school address/phone number/teacher’s name and “Ada SWCD Division III” must be on the back of the poster. 

  3. The theme "May The Forests Be With You Always" must be found somewhere on the front of the poster.

The competition has three levels and cash prizes will be awarded for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entries at each level. Posters can be delivered to the NRCS office at 9173 W. Barnes Dr. Boise, ID 83709. Please ring the bell to get in and then tell the front desk that you have poster contest submissions for Ada Soil & Water Conservation District. We are also more than happy to collect posters from your school. Please reach out through email if you need posters picked up from your school or have questions regarding the contest.


Upcoming Events


March 5-7: Green Schools Conference in Santa Fe, NM.


March 27: 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/.  


The Idea of Nature Spring 2024 Public Lecture Series REGISTER: 

  • MARCH 28 with JAMES EDWARD MILLS, Freelance Journalist and Mountain Guide. "Over the Adventure Gap".

  • APRIL 18 with STEPHANIE BURT, Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English, Harvard University. "The Nature of New Zealand Poetry".

  • APRIL 22 with REV. LYDIA COOK, Anglican Priest, Ottery St. Mary, England.  EARTH WEEK BONUS WEBINAR!  "From Lament to Action: Why we should all engage with Eco-Church".


April 11-12: 4th annual EcosySTEM, Nampa. Register for this event and find details at the  2024 Convening webpage


August 1-2: 2024 STEM Conference, Coeur d’Alene


Employment/Volunteer/Student Opportunities


Project Learning Tree (PLT) is hiring an Education and Outreach Coordinator! IFPC is seeking a motivated, dynamic, creative and enthusiastic individual to oversee and implement all aspects of our robust forest-focused environmental education programming for PreK-12 educators and students. IFPC is the Idaho base for Project Learning Tree (PLT), an environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT provides activities and resources to engage youth in learning about the environment through the lens of trees and forests. Click here to read the job description Send cover letter, resume of work history and contact information for at least three references (in PDF Form, saved with your first and last name) to Jennifer Okerlund at ifpc@idahoforests.org by Friday, April 05, 2024. Questions? Email ifpc@idahoforests.org


The Climate Pollution Reduction Program (CPRP) is looking to fill a Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Transportation Section Outreach Team Lead (Community Outreach & Environmental Education Specialist 4) position. This position will be located at our Headquarters Building in Lacey, WA. Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station.


Are you passionate about addressing climate change and ready to contribute your skills and energy to reducing climate pollution? Are you interested in engaging with a diverse group of people ranging from food producers to manufacturers of air conditioners to biofuel companies? Interested in helping us reach out to a wide range of communities across Washington to make sure they are engaged? Do you have an interest in leading a team of professionals to develop enticing presentation and outreach materials? Are you skilled at hosting public meetings? Want to help us develop and implement community outreach and education campaigns? If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, then you might be the communicator we’re looking to join our team!

 

You’ll lead planning and implementation of statewide outreach and education for the Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and Clean Fuels Standard (CFS) programs across the state – helping shape some of Washington’s cutting-edge environmental work. You’ll design and conduct public outreach campaigns, help coordinate and facilitate training and engagement events across multiple regions, and develop accessible print and electronic media. You’ll lead up to three junior outreach and engagement specialists to implement outreach and training for the HFC Refrigerant Management Program implementation.


The principal department's strategic priorities and goals that relate to the Climate Pollution Reduction Program (CPRP) include: reduce and prepare for climate impacts; prevent and reduce toxic threats; and deliver efficient and effective services. The CPRP’s mission is to implement policies and programs to reduce carbon emissions in the state of Washington so that the state meets its statutory greenhouse gas emission limits. The CPRP focuses long term, requiring creative and strategic decision making for implementation to achieve broad statewide and interstate success reducing carbon emissions in the state of Washington so residents have a healthy environment and climate. Please Note: This is a project position that is funded until June 30, 2028. 


Application Timeline: This position will remain open until filled, we will conduct a first review of applications on February 6, 2024. In order to be considered, please submit an application on or before February 5, 2024. If your application isn't received by this date, it may not be considered. The agency reserves the right to make a Hire any time after the initial screening date. Apply here:  https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/washington/jobs/4353798/community-outreach-team-lead-community-outreach-environmental-education-specia


Application open for Assistant Water Educator with the U-Idaho Extension in the greater Boise area. The Assistant Extension Water Educator will support the Extension Water Outreach program through leading hands-on educational activities, assisting with educational event planning, and assisting with IDAH 2 O Master Water Stewards/Project WET/TRM Crayfish Citizen Science projects (about 65% of the time). In addition, the Educator will assist with water outreach-related research (about 35% of the time). The position is part-time, at 0.6 FTE, and will be housed in the Boise Water Center. To apply, send a cover letter and resume/vitae to Jim Ekins, Ph.D., U-Idaho Extension Water Educator; jekins@uidaho.edu. Direct questions to that email or call 208-292-1287.


IdEEA Updates


Become an IdEEA member and support EE in Idaho! If you have an interest in supporting our mission more fully but don’t have the capacity to be on the board, join one of our committees! Any active members are eligible to meet with a committee to help with specific events and projects. Let us know you’re interested by emailing communications@idahoee.org under the subject “Committees” and we’ll connect you to the correct Committee Chair. Become a member today! Stay current with all our updates! Subscribe to this newsletter and follow our blog at idahoee.org.


About this newsletter - We bring you the latest Environmental Education resources, events, and opportunities from around Idaho, now once per month. You can be a part of this process by sharing resources, events, jobs, etc. with communications@idahoee.org under the subject “Newsletter.” 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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