Category Archives: K-12

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.


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


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


EPA Announces “Climate Change in Focus” Student Video Contest

EPA and the National Environmental Education Foundation are partnering on a climate change student video contest for middle school students.  The challenge is to create a video that is 30-120 seconds long and that answers the questions: 1) Why do you care about climate change; and 2) How are you reducing carbon pollution or preparing for the impacts of climate change?

Video entries should describe how climate change affects you, your family, friends, and community, now or in the future.  Applicants can use storytelling, images, or anything that explains the steps you’re taking, or could take, to prepare for a changing climate.

The deadline for entries is March 18, 2014.  Winners will be announced on the contest website on or around April 22, 2014.  To learn more, visit:


Calling all students and teachers: Young Reporters for the Environment Competition

Via Great Lakes Echo.

Student reporters and educators alike – the National Wildlife Federation’s “Young Reporters for the Environment Competition” is looking for your environmental work!

The contest is open to students ages 13-21. Eligible submissions should demonstrate investigation about an environmental topic, offer solutions, and reflect knowledge of how the topic relates both globally and to the community.

Contest entries are accepted as:

  • Single photograph
  • Photo essay, consisting of no more than 12 photos
  • A written article, no more than 1000 words
  • Video, no more than three minutes long

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2014. National winners, which are announced at the end of April, are then entered into the competition’s international level. International winners are announced on World Environment Day, on June 5. Prizes vary, but include reporting equipment (tablets, cameras, etc.) and Amazon gift cards ranging in value.

For rules and more information, click here.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Awards & contests, Journalism, K-12


Green Living Project’s School Assembly Program

Green Living Project’s new school assembly, “Appetite for Adventure: Exploring Global Food Sustainability” is a standards-aligned, multimedia presentation showcasing cutting-edge sustainable food projects from around the world.

The program introduces students to the local and global connections between food production, consumption and climate change. Students will experience the journey of visiting international cultures and witness the efforts towards more sustainable food systems around the world.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Agriculture, K-12


ClimateChangeLIVE Webinar Series

This webinar series provides online climate-science learning as electronic field trips giving students a way to interact with climate experts and educators. Upcoming webinars include:

  • Educate, Inspire and Engage: March 5, 2014
  • Join the Climate Change Conversation: March 12, 2014
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Climate change, K-12, Meetings & webinars


CLEAN Network Resources for Teachers

The CLEAN (Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network) collection is a searchable database for teachers to find online activities, videos and graphics on climate and energy education. Teachers may sign up for the newsletter with updates on educational policies, discussions with experts, event announcements and weekly teleconferences.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Climate change, Energy, K-12


Seeking Teachers for Project Localize

The Lexicon of Sustainability is seeking exemplary high school teachers to participate in a revolutionary new school program to promote environmental and food literacy through Project Localize. The program integrates learning with creativity and promotes community outreach.

The goal is that future generations can teach America how to improve our food system, one town at a time. The Lexicon of Sustainability is based on a simple premise: people will live more sustainable lives if they are taught the basic terms and principles that define sustainability. Project Localize teaches students to create and share art that documents sustainable agriculture methods. The art is promoted in Pop Up Shows organized by students for the community.

Selected teachers will collaborate on Project Localize and receive financial and mentoring support from the Lexicon of Sustainability. Nominate a teacher today!

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in K-12


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