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GLOBE Schools in Texas Plan Campus Nature Walk for Earth Day

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Since the year 2000, Northside ISD in San Antonio, Texas, has used GLOBE as the structure for environmental education goals that fit into the "... Benefit the Environment" part of the GLOBE acronym. Our District's designation for these flexible applications of environmental observation and measurement, planting projects, birding activities, educational gardens, bicycle clubs, habitat restoration, etc. is ACORN (for Area Children Organized to Replant Natives). The program has gradually expanded from a single pilot school to the current status of voluntary implementation at about half of the 80 elementary schools in our districts, one fourth of our middle schools, and we are currently starting our first high school program. The long-cherished goal is to implement a high school magnet program for environmental studies that could attract the students who are aging-up from earlier participation in various ACORN clubs.

Students at a planting site
Students at a 
planting site.

At this time we have established a small planting site on each elementary campus that will, on Earth Day, 2021, be part of a campus nature walk on a voluntary basis. These sites consist of ongoing student research on habitat restoration using native plants of our immediate area called the Texas Hill Country. The sites are student planted (often including native trees grown from seeds in recycled soda bottles by students from the previous year), pollinator friendly, multilevel canopy, and thicket planted to more closely reflect the natural world where these plants grow. The campus nature walk will be supported by a video for each school that includes the exact location using latitude and longitude, the list of plants and dates planted, Google Earth Pro with previous satellite images to show change across time. The video is crowned by the "down" photo from the GLOBE Observer cloud observation app to document the site from the perspective of standing beside it. It is hoped these nature walk videos, like the student planting sites themselves, will become a seed that will continue to expand in scope, influence, and complexity as we continue to learn from nature and continually update our habitat restoration sites.

Check out a Nature Walk video from the schools here!

- Contributed by Kent Page, district-level Elementary Environmental Education teacher at Northside ISD

News origin: United States of America