Air Quality Curriculum Now Available

From Elaine Hampton, via EcoEd

Students with beakers

Photo from BAQed.utep.edu.

A free curriculum about border air quality is available to everyone in Spanish and English at BAQed.utep.edu.

Modules of 3 to 6 lessons, for Grade 3 through High School, take students through inquiry science, social justice, and community engagement.

For example:

  • Fourth graders learn about air pollution caused by burning hydrocarbons from fossil fuels. They explore what it feels like to breathe if you have respiratory problems, and they make plans to have less air pollution around their school.
  • Sixth graders measure temperature changes in ambient air compared to CO2 to understand the greenhouse effect and the foundations of climate change. They create public service announcements about the climate issues for the school news channel and their families.
  • Using the important environmental history of the ASARCO copper smelter located near downtown El Paso, high school students learn how to identify sources of air pollution, the chemical behavior of these polluting compounds, and then explore options to reduce chemical air pollutants.

A project of the El Paso Independent School District and The University of Texas at El Paso, Center for Environmental Resource Management, funded by Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Education, Outreach and Support Program, 66.037. Supported in part by a grant from the USEPA Office of Air and Radiation, Grant #IT-83509301.

 

2014 PLT Outstanding Educator – Taylor Mayer

Taylor Mayer 2014 PLT Outstanding Educator

L to R: Elena Kayak (Energy/Environmental Specialist for Rio Rancho Public Schools), Barbara Garrity (Executive Director of EEANM), Taylor Mayer, Cathy Gaarden (Principal of Sandia Vista Elementary School), and Jean Szymanski (Regional Conservation Ed. Coordinator, USFS)

Taylor Mayer, first grade teacher from Sandia Vista Elementary School in Rio Rancho, received the 2014 NM PLT Outstanding Educator Award.

Her nominator, Amy Waymire, provided this description of her work at school:

“Taylor received Planet Learning Tree training in the fall of 2013. Since this time, she has integrated a number of practices and projects into her curriculum at school. In addition to this, she established and led Sandia Vista Elementary’s first green team for staff and an additional after-school club for students. The staff green team has allowed Taylor to share many of the lessons and curriculum she has developed using the PLT training she received.

One piece of education that has benefited a number of classrooms is the compost system she started. This allowed our classrooms to collect our organic waste from lunch and create compost for our community garden. Taylor shared a number of CCSS aligned lessons from PLT to facilitate learning about composting.

In addition, Taylor has used the PLT curriculum to facilitate the student Green Team club she started following her training. Each week, the students in this club explore environmental education through hands on projects and community service based on PLT lessons. Taylor’s enthusiasm and leadership towards environmental education has attracted over 30 students from our school to join this club. She has also engaged many of the staff members through this effort as well.

She has brought awareness and education to the staff and greatly increased the participation of staff in environmental education. We greatly value Taylor as an educator at Sandia Vista Elementary and commend her commitment to environmental education and the contributions she has made as a result of her PLT training.”

2013 PLT Outstanding Educator – Noel Chilton

Noel Chilton 2013 PLT Outstanding EducatorNoel Chilton is the 2013 NM PLT Outstanding Educator of the Year!

Noel is an highly skilled and dedicated educator, parent and activist. She was nominated by both her former principal at Coronado Elementary School, Anna Marie Ulibarrί, and her colleague, Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, Early Childhood Education Coordinator from the NM Museum of Natural History and Science.

Her work with the students, faculty and parents at Coronado, as well as her advocacy work in NM is well-regarded. Under her direction, the students participated in the creation of the inspiring video, “Coronado Connects the Dots.” Noel also led the 350 Action Day at Coronado, which brought awareness of rising carbon in our atmosphere. She signed up Coronado as a PLT Green School, attended the training, and worked with the students to complete the audits. She was also responsible for arranging the PLT inservice at Coronado. Many other activities were mentioned by her nominators, and we know of more instances than they mentioned in their nominations, such as when she helped facilitate PLT workshops as a volunteer.

Pricipal Ulibarrί, stated, “Noel demonstrates a quiet, focused and inspirational leadership. She has worked effectively with our parents, staff, and students to implement positive changes at our school. Noel is also very knowledgeable and holds a high standard for the capacities of our children. She is open to their ideas and has provided thought provoking, life changing experiences for them. I know she has made a huge difference at our site.”

Ms. Snider-Bryan stated, “in my 25 plus years as an educator and parent, I have rarely seen this level of understanding by elementary-aged children experiencing environmental education. Noel Chilton’s creative actions as Green Team Leader have guided youth to understand human impact on the environment, aided by her ingenuous interpretation of Project Learning Tree curriculum.”

“We know first hand the power and passion of Noel’s dedication to the environment and the role our youth play in sustainability. Not only is she one of the best environmental and art educators I know she is also friend and parent making a profound difference in the world. Our children and our community are thankful for all the small and large moments of beauty, enlightenment and change Noel has shared with us.” ~Lonnie Anderson via Facebook

The Lorax Comes to Jarales, NM

Reading the LoraxJean Szymanski, Education Coordinator with the Forest Service, Southwestern Region, was the guest reader at the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day. Read Across America Day is an annual event sponsored by the NEA to promote literacy. This year they read The Lorax, the classic tale of a forest guardian who shares the enduring power of hope.
NEA’s Read Across America Program is their signature literacy effort to help children develop a love of reading. Continue Reading →

Project Learning Tree’s Green Schools! Program

On January 19th, four NM schools sent representatives to a training by Al Stenstrup of Project Learning Tree and Vicki Arthur of the Forest Service Conservation Education offices in Washington D.C. The schools are Desert Ridge and Madison Middle Schools, Coronado Elementary School and Rio Grande School. Continue Reading →