WEEKLY eNEWS: Upcoming Events, Awards, Volunteer Opportunity Resources, Your Feedback, and Lagniappe

A Compilation of Environmental Education News from Across Louisiana 


Earth Science Week: October 9-15, 2011
Since its inception in 1998, the American Geological Institute (AGI) has organized Earth Science Week (ESW), an international event to help the public gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the earth sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. The website features: contests, events, and a comprehensive portfolio of geoscience educational materails for K-12 students and teachers.

4-H Youth Wetlands Program – Registration Now Open!
The Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program is a statewide LSU AgCenter 4-H program sponsored by the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration (OCPR). The program is a school enrichment program designed to heighten students’ awareness of Louisiana’s wetlands, wetland loss, and wetland conservation. Program materials are provided at no cost to participating educators. The program is celebrated during Youth Wetlands Week (YWW), April 22-27. 2012. The curriculum is tailored to students in grades 4-12 and all lesson plans are designed to follow Louisiana’s Grade Level Expectations (GLEs). In addition to receiving materials, opportunities to participate in wetland restoration projects are available to teacher and students throughout the year in various locations across the state. Students have helped with vegetative plantings and invasive species removal, constructed and installed wood duck boxes, and assisted in trash bashes/beach sweeps. For more information, visit www.lsuagcenter.com/yww or register using the Google form attached below.

Upcoming Webinar: School Buildings as Green Teaching Tools (October 19, 7 pm)
The National Environmental Education Foundation (www.neefusa.org) in partnership with the National Education Association Foundation (www.neafoundation.org) and Green Schools National Conference (www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org) is launching the first of a series of three webinars, Green Schools Educator Webinar Series, to help educators around the country learn from experts and peers how to green their schools and curriculum. Webinar participants will interact live with national experts and teachers who are transforming their schools for the 21st Century. Registration is free and all educators are invited to join. Please see attached flyer for more information. To register, visit: www.classroomearth.org/gswebinars


Nominate the Next Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award Winner
Nominate an educator or partner in your community to be the next Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award winner! The Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award recognizes teachers, college professors and non-formal educators who have made a substantial effort to promote environmental engagement among youth. The GM Foundation and Earth Force will award 5 educators each month in the search to find the 20 best “GREEN” educators nationwide. Winners will also be featured on the Earth Force website, along with their teaching tools and ways they get their students involved. We are looking for those truly great at keeping students active in their community, helping young people understand the relationship between civic life and environmental health, and those that are spreading the word. To nominate your favorite “GREEN” educator, visit www.greeneducator.org.

Department of Education Announces Green Ribbon Schools Award - Environmental Education Included in Final Criteria
The criteria for the Department of Education’s new Green Ribbon Schools Award was recently announced. In accordance with comments submitted by Congressman John Sarbanes, the No Child Left Inside Coalition, and other proponents of environmental education, the final criteria encourages schools to put in place programs that, among other things, “promote environmental education that supports students’ strong civic skills, environmental stewardship and workforce preparedness.” To read the Congressman’s full press release, click here. Nominations for the Green Ribbon Schools Award will be accepted through the fall and awards will be announced on Earth Day 2012.

For more information on Environmental Literacy and Green Ribbon Schools Federal Program please see attached document.


Volunteers Needed- Beach Restoration on Elmer’s Island (October 19 & 20)
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Bayou Land RC&D Council invite volunteers to participate in a wetland restoration project that will create sand dunes along the shoreline of Elmer’s Island in Grand Isle.  Volunteers will install 2,000 feet of sand fencing on October 19th and plant dune grass on October 20th (10:00 am to no later than 4:00 pm for both days).  These projects will assist in stabilizing and capturing sand in the hopes of building dunes. In addition, the project will also create wildlife habitat and increase species diversity. This project is being completed through a partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, NOAA Community-based Restoration Program, Restore America's Estuaries, the Coypu Foundation and New Orleans City Park. All equipment (shovels, gloves, hammers, etc.) will be provided. Lunch and drinks will be provided to all volunteers. Please register (for one or both days) at the www.crcl.org or call the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana at 1-(888)-LACOAST for more information.  


ScienceCasts: Online Video Series
NASA ScienceCasts are short online videos about fun, interesting, and unusual science topics encountered by NASA's science missions. The video series, created by astrophysicists and a team of agency narrators and videographers, offers the public a fast and fun way to learn about scientific discoveries and facts about Earth, the solar system, and beyond. New videos are posted online every Thursday. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sciencecasts


Gulf Coast Task Force Releases Ecosystem Restoration Strategy for Public Review
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, chaired by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, released for public review and feedback its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long term ecosystem restoration. The strategy represents an historic opportunity for addressing long-standing issues contributing to the decline of the Gulf’s critical ecosystem. The preliminary strategy is the first effort of its kind to be developed with the involvement of parties throughout the region, including the states, tribes, federal agencies, local governments and thousands of interested citizens and organizations. The strategy was developed following more than 40 public meetings throughout the Gulf to listen to the concerns of the public. It is available to the public for review and feedback at www.epa.gov/gulfcoasttaskforce, until 11:59 p.m. EST October 26, 2011. The Task Force will release the final version in December 2011.


Senate to Mark up Draft Education Bill—Help Secure Support for the Inclusion of Environmental Education
Senator Harkin, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has announced that the committee will mark up a draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) on October 18. Congressional support for the NCLI Act is critical to ensuring that the HELP Committee includes environmental literacy in the draft legislation. Please help add additional co-sponsors to Senate Bill 1372 (the NCLI Act) by contacting your Senator today. Please let your Senator know that s/he can support this goal by cosponsoring the NCLI Act today. An ESEA that includes the provisions of the NCLI Act would support outdoor learning activities both at school and in non-formal environmental education centers, teacher professional development, and the implementation of state environmental literacy plans. By offering states increased flexibility to infuse environmental education into the preK-12 curriculum, the No Child Left Inside Act will give our nation’s students the knowledge they need to advance American competitiveness in a clean energy economy, help boost academic achievement, and offer a pipeline to success in STEM subjects. For more information: www.nclicoalition.org


Find out about wetland outreach activities including symposiums, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and related support material at the Louisiana Unified Coastal Community Calendar at http://lacoast.gov/calendar/

Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov
Juliet Raffray, Environmental Education Assistant Coordinator, 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries – www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec