GLOBE and Eco-Schools: Intersections in Science and Sustainability
What is Eco-Schools and what is its connection to GLOBE?
Eco-Schools is an international program of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and is run in 67 countries around the world. In the United States, the National Wildlife Federation is the sole host of the Eco-Schools program, taking on the role in 2008. Eco-Schools USA is student-driven and is a national program for grades PK-12 combining the effective green management of school grounds, facilities and curriculum to empower today’s students for a sustainable tomorrow. Our program is made up of three main components, the Seven Step Framework, the Pathways to Sustainability and our 3-Tiered Awards Process. The Framework is carried out by every school in every country and is the basis from which school teams or classes address sustainability.
Eco-Schools USA, under FEE’s leadership, is also a member of UNESCO Global Action Program (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development and the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. We are committed to and support the Sustainable Development Goals.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA has partnered with GLOBE to integrate school sustainability and Earth systems observations, data collection and action in an effort to protect and conserve wildlife and wild place. Through our Green STEM work, The GLOBE Program provides students opportunities to engage in citizen science, practice using tools of science and hone their science skills. Student-driven teams conduct environmental audits integrating GLOBE protocols to develop action plans and work with the community to solve local, real-world environmental issues.
What is your favorite part about the Eco-Schools-GLOBE partnership and their communities?
I have two favorites. One, is the excitement from teachers when they realize how students can use hard science to connect to the natural world and allow students to be a part of the local and scientific community. Knowing they have been provided tools to empower their students and create a space for their students' voices to be heard. Second, professionally, I have found new friends, new partnerships, and new ways to support educators. It’s been a win-win on both sides of the table.
What is a highlight or project example that illustrates the benefit of doing GLOBE protocols as part of Eco-Schools?
The highlight has been in the integration of GLOBE protocols into our Eco-Schools audits. As Eco-Schools USA is coming into its tenth year, we are starting to update our environmental audits associated with each of our twelve pathways to sustainability. As each is being updated, I’m integrating direct connections between the Eco-Schools pathway and the GLOBE protocol. For example, in our Watersheds Audit, students investigate attributes of weather, water and soil and students use GLOBE protocols to address these sections of the audit. In doing so, my goal is to make it easier for our Eco-Schools. (Above image: Jennifer Hammonds demonstrates the surface temperature protocol at the GLOBE-Eco-Schools USA workshop during the 2018 NAAEE conference.)
What are current and upcoming Eco-Schools and GLOBE initiatives?
Right now, we are working hard to get the messages out about the Student Research Symposium and the Trees Around the World campaign (this campaign directly ties to our Learning About Forests pathway). Eco-Schools also has an online, self-paced course using GLOBE protocols starting on November 14 and running through January 9. The focus is on GLOBE Training for Eco-Schools: Using Earth Systems Science in your Schoolyard Habitat, which as the name implies, is getting our schools or any school who has a National Wildlife Federation Certified Schoolyard Habitat or a garden on site to use GLOBE protocols as a way to use the garden space not only as habitat for wildlife, but also as a learning laboratory for life and Earth science. (Above Image: Educators learning to measure water transparency at the GLOBE-Eco-Schools USA workshop during the 2018 NAAEE conference.)
How does Eco-Schools-GLOBE support teacher instruction and student learning?
As a national program, it is difficult to provide on the ground support to our over 5,000 Eco-Schools and growing. Luckily, we have regional offices throughout the country, such as Texas, Maryland, New York and Washington. In addition, our website was designed to be self-guided and to provide teachers with all the tools and content they need to help their students connect to nature, connect to learning standards, address sustainability and drive environmental change.
How can GLOBE teachers, students, and partners connect with Eco-Schools?
Connect with Eco-Schools on social media: @EcoSchools USA on Facebook and Twitter and on Pinterest.
In the News: The GLOBE and Eco-Schools USA partnership:
News origin: United States of America