Environmental Issues in the Classroom

Everyone knows that Earth Day is coming up, but there are also a few other environmentally-related events going on this month.

-NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WEEK (April 13-19)

National Environmental Education Week promotes the understanding and protection of the environment by actively engaging students and teachers in a week of environmental learning and service before Earth Day. Register online to receive lesson plans, activities, and other resources.

-NATIONAL WILDLIFE WEEK (April 19-27)
Get outside and watch for wildlife with National Wildlife Federation’s Nature Quest Wildlife Watch! You can participate by simply downloading a “watch” list of wildlife for your state, taking a walk around your schoolyard or favorite outdoor spot, and noting how many animals and plants you can find. Afterwards, you can report your sightings online.

-EARTH DAY (April 22)

Participate in various Earth Day activities across the country. Be sure to sign up as an educator to get access to the lesson plans and ideas!

-NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE

The No Child Left Inside Coalition is an organization made up of more than 190 groups from across the United States. The membership includes environmental, educational, business, public health, outdoor recreation and conservation groups. The No Child Left Inside Coalition speaks for a large group of Americans who believe young people should receive a strong education about their natural world. I am a huge fan of this group. The group has presented the No Child Left Inside Act to Congress and the latest news is that a subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee will have a field hearing on the No Child Left Inside Act of 2007 – the first hearing on our legislation to date. The hearing will take place on Earth Day, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. As an educator, I see the effects of nature deficit disorder in my classroom on a daily basis. This is a phenomenal organization and they could use all the support they can get!

My Second of Eight Poems

In My Backyard

Sitting at my back doors

I watch as nature comes to my doorstep,

feeding on suet, thistle, and wild bird seed.

Tiny thistle seeds overflow the bird feeder.

The shy goldfinch couple timidly grips the wire feeder,

leaping into flight at the smallest movement

or noise.

The noisy chickadees peck at the seeds

that have fallen to the ground,

fighting over them with the mourning doves.

The cardinal couple regally hops along the patio,

pecking at stray seeds and suet,

dropped by the others.

The noisy bluejay squawks his annoyance

at not being able to grip the feeder

with his oversized feet.

On the roof, a wily squirrel plots

his breaking and entering…

how will he manage to get the seed from the bird feeder this time?

Maybe I have finally outsmarted him, I think.

Watching out my back windows,

it amazes me just how much of nature

is right in my own

townhouse backyard,

small as it may be.

Feeding the birds in my small backyard is one of my favorite hobbies. It’s so much fun to sit and watch the various species as they fly among the trees and bushes, making a quick pit stop at the feeders or on the ground. Until I put up my bird feeders, I didn’t realize how many different types of birds where right here in my own neighborhood! Now if I could just manage to outsmart that stinkin’ squirrel!

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