Category Archives: Education

How to hold your own personal BioBlitz

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

National Geographic’s BioBlitz 2014 was a roaring success, but you don’t have to wait until next year or travel out of your way to enjoy the fun of a BioBlitz. Here’s how to have a one-person blitz.

Webinar: How to Reduce Wasted Food: EPA’s Food Waste Reduction Tools for Food Services & Restaurants

May 15, 2014, noon-1:30 pm CDT
Register at

The Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment provides step-by-step instructions to conducting a one-time assessment of the food waste thrown in garbage bins. This instructional outreach material is useful for facilities new to food audits and for those who wish to better understand their current food waste management practices.

The toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging: A Guide for Food Services and Restaurants is designed to help food service establishments save money and reduce their environmental impact with suggested strategies, templates and case studies. Users first track the amount, type of, and reason for wasted food and packaging on paper. Entering the data into the Excel tool automatically creates graphs to help identify patterns and opportunities to reduce waste. The accompanying PDF guide provides intervention strategies and background information.

These free, new resources can be found at


Julie Schilf is an Environmental Scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office where she is the regional coordinator for EPA’s WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge programs.  She will provide a summary of the instructional outreach materials on Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment.

Amanda Hong is a graduate fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 office working in Sustainable Materials Management and Pollution Prevention. She will provide a detailed overview of how to use the toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging.


3 pathways to a clean energy future

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In this final installment of our eLab Accelerator blog series (read part 1 and part 2), we are reviewing three teams who are focused on developing strategies to understand and achieve clean energy futures.

The increasing capability and affordability of renewables and distributed resources, the pressure to combat climate change, and the need for a more resilient electricity system are creating opportunities as well as challenges the likes of which our electricity system has never faced before. By working together, these teams recognize that successful solutions must address not only the technical but also the social and creative complexity facing the electricity system.


Webinar: Student Affairs Stories of Sustainability: Resources to Engage Students and Remove Silos

Thursday, April 17, 2014, noon-1 pm CDT
Register at

Just in time for Earth Day! Student Affairs Stories of Sustainability: Resources to Engage Students and Remove Silos – a FREE Webinar sponsored by the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC) and supported by AASHE. Learn about student affairs sustainability initiatives around the United States. Identify how to engage students and remove silos. Network with peers in sustainability and student affairs to share ideas and best practices.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Identify benefits of sustainability efforts on campus
    1. Student engagement
    2. Organizing for a better future
  2. Categorize silos hindering sustainability on campus
    1. Within Student Affairs
    2. Between Student Affairs and other divisions on campus
  3. Provide stories of sustainability initiatives on campus

    1. 1-2 stories in traditional student affairs division
    2. 1-2 stories that cross between divisional lines (illustrating collaboration)
  4. Share in peer-to-peer interaction in an open Q&A session
  5. Connect to association resources for sustainability efforts


  • Debra Rowe, PhD, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
  • Kaye Holman, PhD, HEASC Sustainability Fellow


  • Tim Broderick, Sustainability Coordinator in Housing and Dining Services, Colorado State University, Chair of the NASPA Sustainability Knowledge Community
  • Janice DeMonsi, Director of Recreation, Santa Clara University
  • Maureen McGonagle, MBA, Director of Campus Recreation, DePaul University, Former President of NIRSA
  • James Tweedy, PhD, Senior Associate Director of Residence Life & Housing, University of Delaware, Chair of the ACPA Sustainability Advisory Committee

2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp

The Prairie Research Institute, along with the five scientific Surveys, is pleased to announce the 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp. This STEM experience is a week-long day camp where high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates have the opportunity to spend one day at each of the five divisions of the Institute working side-by-side with scientists to gain hands-on experience in geology, archaeology, sustainable technology, water science, and environmental/biological science. This year’s camp will be held July 21-25, 2014,and will feature driving a go-cart powered by biodiesel made from corn or plastic, water quality assessment, insect fossil study, ancient artifacts, and creating 3D geologic maps from core samples. This year’s camp will be limited to 24 students in the State of Illinois who are either a rising junior, senior, or recent high school graduate who are interested in learning more about science and engineering occupations. At $250 per participant, our camp is one of the least expensive camps at the University of Illinois.

Online applications are now being accepted on the camp website ( The application deadline is May 18, 2014.

The Prairie Research Institute is the home of the State Scientific Surveys (Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeology Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

If you have any questions related to the Institute’s camp, please contact Elizabeth Luber at 217-333-7403 or

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Posted by on April 9, 2014 in K-12


Three Tips on the Road to a Great Governor’s Award Application

Over on the ISTC Blog, John Mulrow gives organizations tips for writing a successful Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards application. The deadline to apply is May 22, 2014.


Environmental group finds toxic chemicals in university promotional items

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Michigan might be a divided house when it comes to college sports but the in-state rivalry might be more toxic than fans know.

Both University of Michigan and Michigan State University fan gear contained varying levels of potentially toxic chemicals, according to a recent study by the Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit environmental organization.

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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Colleges and universities


Business schools: ‘the silent but fatal barrier to the sustainability agenda’

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Writing for Guardian Sustainable Business, Philippe Martin said: “A significant obstacle to sustainability becoming more embedded into the business school ethos is that a major mind-shift away from academic traditions is required for this to become a reality.”

In a similar vein, John Elkington concluded that he took comfort “… from the fact that intrapreneurs are also now driving change in the business schools … But the real test will be whether their colleagues continue to see sustainability as an elective, an option, or as the keystone to business education for the 21st century.”

These are still genuine concerns about the business schools and their inability to come to terms with the sustainability agenda, despite different initiatives to nudge them towards that direction. Unfortunately, these initiatives do not directly address the core scholarships upon which business and management education is founded, and the desired mind-shift seems impossible otherwise.


U.S. Green Building Council recruiting National Chairs for the Center for Green Schools’ Community Green program

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) partners with community colleges through the Community Green program with a focus on preparing students for careers in the green economy. Through this program, colleges can become USGBC members at no cost for their first year, gaining access to USGBC’s network, resources and support for key initiatives such as creating green building education and training programs on campus. This program is supported by a series of volunteer National Chairs across the country who work within their regions to recruit and engage members.

Community Green National Chairs are central to the Community Green program, supporting the development, implementation, management and growth of green building education and training activity at community colleges regionally. At the time of the program launch in 2012, National Chairs were recruited to manage multi-state regions with a base in the following states: California, Illinois, Texas, Washington, and Virginia. Community Green is poised for additional growth and seeks to recruit National Chairs in five additional states: New York, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, and North Carolina. Primary responsibilities include facilitating benefits of the program, and helping colleges to advance sustainability on their campus and in the curriculum. To apply to become a Community Green Chair, please fill out the online form located here ( For additional questions or concerns, please e-mail

Below is a description of the role as well as the requirements for the position of Community Green National Chair.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Work with the Center for Green Schools  to design and implement a regional member recruitment plan using email, phone, and in-person meetings
  • Support the integration of green building and sustainability education tools and resources among Community Green member colleges
  • Assist in the delivery of trainings and workshops designed for community college students, faculty, and staff
  • Serve as a liaison between USGBC National and community colleges including both prospective and current Community Green members
  • Maintain open and effective communication with the Center for Green Schools staff and other Community Green National Chairs through e-mail and weekly conference calls


  • In-person training and ongoing support from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council
  • Experience in building a program that will result in a large-scale sustainability implementation and green building training on community college campuses
  • Impact a large number of students who are pursuing careers in the green building and sustainability industry
  • Earn continuing education hours to satisfy GBCI’s LEED Professional Credential Maintenance requirements
  • Demonstrate leadership in support of the Center for Green Schools’ mission to create green schools for all within this generation

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Resident of New York, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, or North Carolina
  • Ability to maintain involvement with program for at least one year, committing 3-4 hours per week, starting in April 2014
  • Must be able to attend an in-person training for the Community Green program to take place in Detroit, MI on May 20-22, 2014 (travel covered by the Center for Green Schools)
  • Experience working on sustainability initiatives in community colleges
  • Strong organizational, leadership and project management skills
  • LEED Credential preferred, but not required
  • Self-motivated and organized, ability to work independently and efficiently to meet goals
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills

Applications can be found here ( and will be accepted until March 21, 2014. Please contact with any questions or comments.


ISTC Sustainability Teacher Workshop

The ISTC Sustainability Teacher Workshop is designed to introduce sustainable technologies into the classroom. Each year a different topic related to sustainable research will be featured with the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers of similar grade levels to produce an NGSS compatible learning unit related to that technology. CPDUs will be available through the University of Illinois.

This year’s sustainability topic is biochar (a byproduct of pyrolysis). Teachers will participate in an experiment using scientific methodology to determine the effect of biochar on an agricultural crop.

Date:    August 1, 2014
Time:    8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CPDUs:    8 hours
Cost:    Free! Lunch provided
Where:    1 E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign, IL 61820
Eligibility:    Illinois high school science teachers
Registration:    Open until full (30) (
Questions?    Contact Kirsten Walker at

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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Biochar, K-12


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