Caring for the environment is a topic Choice takes to heart.
It’s without a doubt important that we begin the conversation early with students and work together to create stewards of the planet so future generations can enjoy its bounty. In celebration of Earth Day, Wednesday April 22, take a look at these tips from our resident expert, Holly Orians, Environmental Education Coordinator of West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, and see how you can incorporate them into your classroom.
Teacher Tips for Environmental Friendliness
- When available use at least 85% post-consumer waste recyclable paper for your classroom.
- Enact a waste-free snack program. Encourage parents to send snacks in reusable containers or fruits or veggies that can be composted.
- Have a zero waste snack contest between classroom. Gather snack waste for a week and see what room can generate the least amount of waste.
- “Ban” or seriously discourage plastic water bottles or any other container that can be thrown away. Instead encourage reusable water bottles only.
- Have a NO PAPER, NO PLASTIC, NO LIGHTS Day and see if classrooms/teachers can come up with creative lessons.
- Make seed balls to throw around campus to grow native plants.
- Have a classroom contest and create artwork from trash that was picked up near that school or make art only with recyclable materials. The school can vote on the best artwork and classroom can win a waste-free snack.
- Encourage no idling around the parking lot. Have students research WHY and visit cars and hand out info on idling!
Environmental Focus at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science (WMAES)
WMAES has all the perfect qualities to lend to their environmental focus. With 62-acres of land, students are encouraged to use the outdoors as their classroom. WMAES utilizes prairies, gardens, ponds, trails, woods, and other landscapes to truly expose the students to the environment.
Environmental science, as well as other sciences, are fully incorporated into WMAES’ curriculum. Holly Orians and Shawn Wessell, WMAES’ Environmental Education educators, work closely with educators to ensure environmental science is being incorporated weekly (for elementary) and monthly (for secondary) into the course curriculum. Secondary students might measure the rise and run of hills on campus to calculate slope, whereas younger students might count the various types of trees to create a bar graph featuring tree types.
Science continues at WMAES, even when the students leave for summer vacation through the Summer Adventure Camps, as well as Winter Adventure Camps. Orians and Wessell work to create day camps to introduce students to science and the fun elements that can be explored through the outdoors! Environmental science isn’t the only science explored either. Camps have varied from incorporating robotics to nature. The camps really allow children and their families to further grasp the essence of WMAES and why science is so important, as well as how it can easily be incorporated into studies to create a more enjoyable, engaging, and vibrant lesson!
How does your school incorporate plan to celebrate Earth Day? Share with us in the comments below.