Archive: K-12

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Education for a Sustainable Future: Benchmarks for Individual and Social Learning

By Jaimie Cloud

This document is a provisional draft that has emerged out of an initial “State of the Field” issue and database, published in JSE in 2014 and a follow-up conference in Winter of 2015.

Jaimie Cloud of the Cloud Institute has been the lead organizer and author of this document. See the opening pages for the large number of additional contributors.

A process for comment and revision will be announced during Spring/summer 2016.

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Place and Resilience: Editors’ Introduction

By Chiara D'Amore, Clare Hintz, Cirien Saadeh and Jeremy Solin

Just as place scholarship reaches across and through many disciplines, so this issue ranges widely, including 14 scholarly features as well as media reviews, case studies, photo and poetic essays, and sustainability journeys. Disciplinary lenses include the arts, sociology, philosophy, natural resource management, sports science, and archaeology, among others.

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Regenerative Hope: Pedagogy of Action and Agency in the Learning Gardens

By Dilafruz Williams

Abstract: Moving beyond the despair resulting from what appears to be a tipping point of life systems due to climate change, this narrative presents a possibility for regenerative hope. The article begins by discussing an emergent typology of hope that includes hokey hope, resolute hope, mythical hope, patient hope, hope deferred, sound hope, authentic hope, critical hope, and transformative hope. Drawing upon this typology, a model for regenerative hope is developed with the following features: care and conviviality, experience and engagement, imagination and joy, risk-taking and belief in possibilities, and critical sensibilities and transformation. Series of photos and voices of youth from a low-income middle school actively engaged in the learning gardens are presented as practical examples of pedagogy of action and agency manifested as regenerative hope.

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Learning Green: Perspectives from U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Educators

By William Sterrett and Scott Imig

Abstract: Opportunities abound for educators to rethink the way teaching and learning occurs for today’s students. Taking time to focus on learning outdoors, on making healthy choices, and on fostering a sustainable learning and living environment is transforming the way schools work across the nation. Through the lens of the three pillars of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), this article described examples from a range of school sites and includes the voices of administrators, teachers, and staff in revisiting how we teach, learn, and lead. Helpful tips regarding school sustainability round out the article to provide “next steps” for the reader.

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Pedagogies for Hope and Transformation: A Book Review for “A People’s Curriculum for the Earth” by Bill Bigelow

By Emily Zionts

Abstract: The anthropocene era is one that is rife with ecological and social crises. Although many have been aware of the enormity of these problems and their systemic roots, the widespread educational response has not been sufficient in preparing youth to take part in creating a more just and sustainable world. Climate change is an umbrella issue for much of what the worlds facing. It is time for teachers to take the lead in using the classroom as a place to bring relevant, critical, joyful education that will lead to action in this crucial time. The following article is a book review for A People’s Curriculum for the Earth, a powerful resource for helping teachers equip students to confront our interconnected global crises, especially the climate crisis, and to highlight stories of teachers, activists, and organizations working to make a difference.

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On the Future of Hope

By Douglas Dupler

Abstract: The concept of hope is rich in context, and working with it from different angles can enhance inner resources. Framing hope as a process offers tools for sustainability educators: subjective exploration, empathy development, critical thinking, and civic engagement.

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Evening Gratitude Song

By Chiara D'Amore

This is a gratitude song created with children’s bedtimes in mind.

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Cultivating Connection and Care – The Case for Family Nature Clubs

By Chiara D'Amore

This article briefly summarizes a body of research in which love is understood to be at the core of three primary life experiences that foster life-long care for the environment: time in nature, especially during childhood; close role models for care of nature; and participation in an organization that fosters direct learning about nature. From this foundation, family nature clubs are presented as having a fairly unique capacity to offer all of these experiences. The family nature club founded by the author, Columbia Families in Nature, is described in some detail, including photos and quotes from the participants and summary results from research on the broad effects of family nature clubs is presented. All together, the case is made that family nature clubs are a ripe opportunity for communities to cultivate connection, care, and love between people and the natural world.

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Cultivating Intimacy with the Natural World: College Students’ Care, Connection, and Regeneration in an Agriculture-focused Humanities Course

By Joan Armon and Chara Armon

To address solutions to environmental degradation in an authentic context, this qualitative research study examines college students’ responses to outdoor fieldwork in an agriculture-focused humanities course. Students’ responses to fieldwork on organic farms generated three integrated themes. Active care encompasses students’ actions of care for plants, people, and animals; intimate connection includes feelings of kinship with people, plants, land, farmer networks, and love of farming. Of particular interest is the third theme of regeneration, related to actions ensuring flourishing of future generations of humans and the natural world. The study raises questions about the need for significant curricular change in higher education to prepare students to respond effectively to climate unpredictabilities and environmental degradation.

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Sustainability Education Framework for Teachers: Developing sustainability literacy through futures, values, systems, and strategic thinking

By Annie Warren, Leanna Archambault and Rider W. Foley

The Sustainability Education Framework for Teachers (SEFT) intends to build a capacity for educators to be able to understand: (i) the broad, complex nature of sustainability, (ii) the problem-oriented, solution driven nature of sustainability, and (iii) how sustainability connects to them as both citizens and classroom teachers. SEFT embraces four ways of thinking––futures, values, systems, and strategic which are conceptualized as being bi-directional and interconnected. The framework aids in linking sustainability topics that are seemingly disparate to the novice teacher population by building upon knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for problem solving with respect to complex sustainability challenges. Imagined as a conceptual framework, it offers organizing principles for examining and considering sustainability problem/solution constellations in a coherent fashion. The framework provides the opportunity for self-reflection and independent enquiry by considering and learning through real world foci. Likewise, SEFT offers a logical framework for working in interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup situations. The four lenses require considering critical inquiries related to societal values, equity, and visions of the future; unpacking the status quo; and exploring and articulating pathways towards a sustainable tomorrow.

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Creating a research to classroom pipeline: closing the gap between science research and educators

By Jennifer Schon, Karla Bradley Eitel, Justin Hougham and Danica Hendrickson

As scientific research evolves information in (K-12) curriculum can quickly become outdated. New research can greatly change the way we teach about science topics and the content we want students to understand. Educators, both formal and informal, can enrich their science curriculum by pulling from current research. Navigating the complexities and unanswered questions alongside scientists can provide a platform for discussion and insight into the nature of science and research that many students are not aware of, providing both a unique experience and valuable lesson on problem solving. Using lessons recently created in tandem with current aviation biofuels project, this article demonstrates the steps educators can take to use ongoing research to create lessons for their own audiences. As often noted in media and current events, finding a reliable, abundant, and sustainable source of transportation fuel is a high priority. One current research effort is being led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture–funded Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), which combines research efforts from industry and educational institutions to build a renewable supply chain for aviation biofuel. This article highlights steps suggested for educators to break down current research to create lessons for their audiences through an explanation of lessons that were developed using NARA research as a foundation. These steps include: Define the theme, Provide the background, Break down the parts, and Draw the parallels.

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Teacher Professional Development for Energy Literacy: A Comparison of Two Approaches

By Karla Bradley Eitel, Justin Hougham, Tammi Laninga, Greg Fizzell, Jennifer Schon and Danica Hendrickson

In this program and practices feature, we describe two different models of teacher professional development designed to help teachers build their own energy literacy while gaining tools to bring energy literacy to their classrooms. Through a review of the literature we identify principles by which to compare and evaluate the two approaches. Both were successful in helping teachers to build energy literacy; each had a mix of advantages and disadvantages when compared to the literature.

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Exploring the Politics and Sustainability of Energy Production: A Professional Development Program for Science Teachers

By Mark Bloom, Sarah Quebec Fuentes, Kelly Feille and Molly Holden

This paper describes a three-week professional development program, for inservice science teachers, which included on-site field trips to different energy production sites, explored the variety of opinions about them (via film, podcasts, news media, and expert lectures), and incorporated mathematical modeling as a lens through which to evaluate the relative sustainability of each energy type. The teacher participants explored oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and coal energy production methods. This paper describes in detail their experience at a coal strip mine and a coal fueled power plant. For each type of energy, the teachers completed a pre- and post-assessment on their understanding of how the energy source was used to generate electricity and their perceptions of the environmental costs of each. The participants’ change in understanding of the energy production methods and increasing awareness of environmental costs are shared. Further, in their own words, participants describe the impact of the professional development on their own knowledge base and their classroom teaching as well as their perceptions of experiential learning as a vehicle for conceptual change.

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Learning and behavior change in a Girl Scout program focused on energy conservation: Saving energy to ‘save the planet’

By Gillian Puttick, Kim Kies, Cecilia Garibay and Debra Bernstein

This study presents outcomes from the Girls Energy Conservation Corps, a research and development project that produced a series of six patch activity guides for girls age 8-14 who are members of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. The program focused on integrating engaging online and real world activities that involved girls in learning about climate change and their role in it, in saving energy, understanding the importance of collective goals and action to address climate change, and using new media creatively to educate peers and the community about energy conservation. Positive changes in knowledge, behavior, and attitudes pre to post suggest that a carefully designed program can address the challenges of educating children about energy conservation and climate change at this age, even if participant exposure to the program is brief. Findings also bring to light that developmental differences may be important to deconstruct in future studies when applying adult-tested behavior change models and theories to youth.

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Student and Teacher Teams Using High Resolution Electricity Monitoring to Create Local Change

By Ruth Kermish-Allen, Karen Peterman, Suzanne MacDonald, Rachel Thompson and Brooks Winner

This paper will explore the Energy for ME program, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation, which worked across formal and informal K-12 environments to bridge the gap between society, science, and the environment. Specifically, this article documents how Energy for ME integrates three experiential education pedagogies (place-based education, inquiry, and project-based learning) in combination with real-world electricity data in order to impact energy consumption within participating communities. Energy for ME schools and communities have saved over $135,000 in homeowner electricity costs, 900,000 lbs of carbon, and 1,000,000 kWh of energy) in electricity costs over the 3 years of the project.

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Undergraduate Energy Education: The Interdisciplinary Imperative

By Kenneth Klemow

Undergraduate energy education is often offered from a specific perspective, such as engineering, sustainability, policy, or economics. This essay argues that undergraduate programs in energy should be explicitly interdisciplinary, because issues surrounding energy production, transmission, and use have multiple perspectives. Challenges to creating interdisciplinary energy programs include often-compartmentalized nature of colleges and universities, and employment prospects for broadly-educated graduates that may not be clear. Strategies for overcoming those issues are proposed, but others remain to be developed by leaders in undergraduate energy education.

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Global Sustainability: An Authentic Context for Energy Education

By Danica Hendrickson, Kimberly Corrigan, Alicia Keefe, Danielle Shaw, Sheeba Jacob, Laura Skelton, Jennifer Schon, Karla Bradley Eitel and Justin Hougham

Reimagining energy education involves moving beyond the basics of energy use, conservation, and efficiency toward a more robust exploration of energy. This exploration should address energy access and equity, the impacts of energy choices, and personal attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to sustainable energy solutions. One approach to encourage this evolution is to use a learning context that inspires educators and students to delve deeply and methodically into the social, economic, and environmental interconnections of energy issues—in other words, to learn about energy within the context of global sustainability. In this article, we share Facing the Future’s definition of global sustainability education (GSE), explain why GSE is an effective context for energy education, and use Facing the Future’s newest energy curriculum to demonstrate how GSE can be employed to develop engaging and rigorous interdisciplinary energy curriculum.

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The effectiveness of environmental education for sustainable development based on active teaching and learning at high school level-a case study from Puducherry and Cuddalore regions, India

By R. Alexandar and G. Poyyamoli

India is challenged by the nexus of environmental degradation and economic growth amidst the paradoxical coexistence of poverty and affluence in their multifarious dimensions. These challenges are directly linked with the conservation and maintenance of the life supporting systems such as land, water, air, and biological diversity. The major causes of environmental degradation are population growth, industrialisation, changes in consumption patterns, and poverty threatening the dynamic equilibrium that could exist between people and ecosystems. In an effort to address these issues, environmental education for sustainable development (EESD) is emerging as an important approach to encourage students to conserve and protect the natural environment in their schools and in their neighbourhoods.

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Sustainability Across The Australian Curriculum: Will It Remain A Priority?

By Hannah O Connor

The purpose of this article is to articulate the significance of education for sustainable development in order to support the integration of sustainability as a cross-curricular priority within the newly developed Australian Curriculum. An investigation into the implementation of sustainability across the curriculum was carried out in two Australian public schools in order to identify its relevancy to various learning areas. The developmental history of the Australian Curriculum will be explored to contextualize this article within the current socio-political environment. Discussions with teachers suggested that the political agendas surrounding the curriculum had influenced the implementation of sustainability in different learning areas. The school located in the Labor electorate had demonstrated their ability to implement sustainability in all six learning areas investigated. Results from the school located within the Liberal electorate showed that sustainability was less of a priority with the implementation of three out of the six learning areas teaching sustainability organizing ideas to students. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the head of curriculum of both schools and their perception of the environment was determined using Sauvè’s (1992, 1994) typology of conceptions for the environment. Focus group discussions with year seven and ten students had identified conceptions similar to that of their head of curriculum. Students identified environmental issues in their discussions and suggested education, as a means for combating climate change. Students expressed that sustainability was important and did so with concerns for the future.

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Empowering High School Girls with Eco- Experiential Education: Assessing Glen Stewart Ravine Watershed in Toronto

By Gabriel Roman Ayyavoo, Stephanie Kotiadis, Jolina Marie Cuevas, Kayis Dacanay, Danielle De Silva and Alethea Marciano

This study explores the overall health of the ecosystem at Glen Stewart Ravine in Toronto by the caring high school teenagers. Care for their ecological habitat reminds one of an ancient First Nation’s proverb: ‘We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our children’. These high school girls were exploring their neighbourhood environment to exhibit social care and joy for the love of student- motivated Scientific Investigative Project -SIP (Ayyavoo, 2013).
Teenage school girls from the inner city care about their immediate environment and acknowledge the interconnectedness of flora and fauna (including plants, animal and humans). The ‘hands-on and minds-on’ challenge inspires students to observe and study their natural habitat in depth to show care to sustain their neighbourhood ecosystem. The adage, ‘we borrow it from our children’, inspires these high school girls to use their scientific strategies to collect a series of biological and chemical test data from their environment. The biological test involved sifting a large net through the running ravine water to classifying the collected macroinvertebrates, while the chemical tests involved measuring the pH level of the ravine in addition to its turbidity levels, oxygen levels, and temperature. The data analysis depicts the health of the ravine, for the moment, at a passable grade. However, in order to maintain this positive state, Glen Stewart Ravine needs to be frequently monitored as new shops and businesses sprout in the nearby surrounding area. The findings of this study may be useful in providing more public awareness on environmental sustainability, care and a community oneness to preserve the ecosystem for the future generation.

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Place-based outdoor learning and environmental sustainability within Australian Primary School

By Amanda Lloyd and Tonia Gray

Learning in the outdoors has significant educational advantages for children in the Primary School years and the need to connect with nature is becoming increasingly prominent in research worldwide. Pro-environmental behaviour, especially in the early years, has been shown to have a causal relationship with connectivity with the natural environment. Place-based outdoor learning promotes a relationship with the natural environment and constructs deep environmental knowledge and understanding of the world that surrounds learners. Embedding Indigenous culture and knowledge into outdoor learning within Primary School programs enables local knowledge and understanding to permeate throughout activities in explicit and experiential ways. A place-based pedagogy recognises the importance of forming intimate relationships with place through regular visitations to the same outdoor environment. One of the many global challenges confronting teachers working in Primary schools is how to implement holistic learning into their educational programs. This paper explores how an Australian case study utilises place-based outdoor learning and environmental sustainability within the school curriculum.

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Cook County Green Corps African American Trainee Experience in a Green Job Training Program

By Lena Hatchett, Susan Ask, Nancy Pollard and Loretta Brown

This case study describes the Cook County Green Corps program, a green job training program serving African American young adults from a low-income neighborhood. The program was implemented by an interdisciplinary organizing team to build knowledge, skills, and participation in sustainable jobs and urban agriculture among young adults. The trainees’ experience was documented by a program evaluation survey, environmental knowledge survey, and 1 year reflection interview. We summarize the experiential design, implementation and evaluation of the program. We discuss the limitations and the benefits of the program for trainees and the neighborhood. We share recommendations for future green job training programs that can best serve urban neighborhoods.

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Engaging Learners in Community Service Learning to Enhance Teacher Preparation Curriculum

By Linda Ramey

Project-based community service learning increases the effectiveness of sustainability education and demonstrates the importance of providing children with opportunities to be healthy, happy and eco-literate global citizens. At Wright State University, as students learned environmental and socio-economic content, they became informed citizens who were empowered as local change agents. Insights from these case studies illustrate how we can engage college students to foster skills as informed decision-makers and engaged future teachers. Examples of curricular models are proposed for educators and students to effectively address environmental dilemmas by integrating scientific content knowledge with civic engagement to best prepare sustainably literate citizens.

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Experiencing sustainability education through place: A case-study from rural-regional Australia

By Rebecca Miles

Place-based education is education that is “grounded in the resources, issues, and values of the local community and focuses on using the local community as an integrating context for learning at all levels” (Powers, 2004, p. 17). The purpose for becoming conscious of places in education is to extend “notions of pedagogy and accountability outward, toward places” making learning more relevant to “the lived experiences of students and teachers… so that places matter to educators, students and citizens in tangible ways” (Gruenewald, 2003, p. 620). Although place-based education is interchangeable with a number of terms – community based learning, rural education, project-based learning, service learning, and sustainability education – it encompasses a broad hope by educators to connect student learning to their community and the community to participate in the school (Powers, 2004). Situated within this partnership between school and community fostered through place-based education is the opportunity for rural-regional sustainability. In particular, the case study showcases how a school and community in rural south-east Australia have regenerated a degraded community stock-reserve to ‘tear down’ the school walls (fences) and perform place through the (co)creation of the Flatlands Nature Reserve as a place of protection, regeneration and environmentally sustainable practices. Furthermore, the story of the Flatlands Nature Reserve shows that “place is not only local, specific and static” but can be seen as a ‘revitalizing of the commons’ (Bowers, 2005) which has co-created a place of bio-diversity, regeneration and sustainability education that has fostered rural-regional sustainability.

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Lessons Learned from a Geoscience Education Program in an Alaska Native Community

By Richard C. Hugo, Wendy F. Smythe, Sean McAllister, Benjamin Young, Bayta Maring and Antonio Baptista

laska Native communities depend on customary and traditional use of natural resources for physical, emotional and cultural sustenance, and community members are concerned about threats to local ecosystems posed by logging, mining, overharvesting, invasive species, fresh and marine water pollution, and climate change. To support one community’s efforts to address these concerns, we have developed an experiential geoscience education program for grades 5 – 12 that draws upon both western science and traditional knowledge. In this program we have found that students are best served by a pedagogy that is founded upon community partnerships, focuses on community needs, reinforces cultural traditions, and presents western science and traditional knowledge as equal and complementary bodies of knowledge. This program has contributed to an increased number of high school graduates pursuing college degrees and has been welcomed by the community as an integral component of cultural revitalization.

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To Divine Is Human

By Nancy Mattina

The human capacity for scientific thinking is an innate one that coexists with our ability to intuit, believe, and invent. In crafting engaging narratives that urge our readers or students to think and act rationally on behalf of our imperiled biosphere, writers who are not scientists should take care not to sustain negative stereotypes of science and scientists in their commentary, even if some of our greatest storytellers have done so.

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Experiencing Sustainability: Thinking Deeper About Experiential Education in Higher Education

By Jay Roberts

Jack Turner (2005) once wrote “we treat the natural world according to our experience of it.” How are our students “experiencing sustainability” in U.S. colleges and universities? With the rise in popularity of education for sustainability initiatives in both K-12 and higher education, experiential education has been championed as a key pedagogical approach moving forward. Experiential curriculum projects come in many different forms. From outdoor education and service learning to so-called “hands-on” applied work on campus projects and field science research, students are increasingly “learning by doing.” Yet far from just another methodology to be used in the classroom, the rise of experiential approaches indicates deeper tectonic shifts in higher education. As students and faculty engage in this form of learning, questions are raised as to the historic divide between theory and practice, the separation between so-called “town” and “gown” cultures, the curriculum and the co-curriculum, and what forms of knowledge and skills are of the most worth to a 21st century graduate. This analysis first briefly surveys the theoretical history of experiential education before proceeding to consider two specific curriculum projects at the intersections between sustainability and experiential education—place-based learning and project-based learning. The analysis concludes with a discussion of the possibilities and limitations of current forms of experiential education in higher education and a consideration of future trends and developments.

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Environmental sustainability and environmental justice: From buzzwords to emancipatory pro-environmental behaviour change

By Mary Breunig

Environmental sustainability and justice and experiential education are present-day “buzzwords.” This case study of one secondary school Environmental Studies Program in Ontario, Canada problematizes the assumption that environmental knowledge(s), one form of experiential education, automatically leads to students acting pro-environmentally, querying: 1) how does environmental education impact secondary school students’ pro-environmental behaviours?; 2) to what extent does environmental knowledge inform environmental actions? Four primary themes emerged in one case study: a) strong sense of community; b) the evolving mission/vision in the program; c) the teacher’s evolving pedagogical praxis; and d) an increase in activist leanings in students. The role of the teacher on student learning, a discussion of emancipatory environmental actions, and educational policy implications are discussed.

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Dialogue among educators: Understanding the intended goals and perceived roles within a non-formal and formal educator partnership

By Kristine Cook and Ingid Weiland

Even less well known than how non-formal education is woven into formal education is how classroom teachers and non-formal educators work together to plan and implement these kinds of partnerships in the classroom. This study sought to explore how to intentionally and effectively structure the partnership between a formal and non-formal educator. The results of the study indicated that formal and non-formal educators can support each other’s goals through systematic collaboration in a robust and dynamic partnership that necessitates working together both prior to and during the implementation of programs to define goals and iteratively gauge roles of each educator in the process. Suggestions are made for how both educators can be made aware of the commitment involved in an explicit collaboration, including materials needed, expected levels of communication, individual roles, assessment aims, and time needed for effective outcomes.

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A Case Study in Sustainability Experiential Education

By Christine Gleason, Robert Ause and Jamey Hein

This article presents a case study of a middle school project based on the experience of two teachers and an administrator. The project gives 8th grade students an opportunity to make a difference in the world through a Sustainability Action Project. In this article you will read the rationale behind this project. You will get an overview of and a timeline for its implementation over the course of a complete academic year. We will provide you with some examples of projects as well as refer you to our school webpage where you can view these projects in more detail. Finally, we have included appendices of several of the materials we provide to our students. We hope that you will clearly see what sets this learning experience apart from other sustainability projects, and that you will be able to adopt a similar project in your school.

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The Oikos of Rural Children: A Lesson for the Adults in Experiential Education

By Karim-Aly S. Kassam and Leanne M. Avery

              PDF: Kassam&AveryJSESpring2013 The Oikos of Rural Children[1]: A Lesson for the Adults in Experiential Education   Karim-Aly S. Kassam, Department of Natural Resources & American Indian Program, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell UniversityLeanne M. Avery, Department of Elementary Education and Reading, State University of New York College at Oneonta  […]

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Children’s Observations of Place-Based Environmental Education: Projects Worlds apart Highlight Education for Sustainability Inherent in Many Programs

By John Rafferty and Shelby Gull Laird

        PDF: Rafferty and Laird, Spring 2013 Abstract:  This paper explores the observations and perceptions of school children as they engage with nature through place based environmental experiences. The paper reports on two projects, one based in the USA and the other in Australia, designed to promote understanding of sustainability through outdoor […]

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Women and Nontraditional Fields: A Comprehensive Review

By Roofia Galeshi

PDF: Galeshi Winter2013 Abstract:  This literature-based report aims to synthesis and summarize the existing research on female’s (meaning adult women and girls) propensity for enrolling and continuing in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at through university level. To create and maintain a sustainable future, it is essential to support females enroll and […]

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A Sustainable Peace: From Militarized Borders to Transnational Resource Collaboration

By Randall Amster

In a very cohesive and convincing argument, Randall Amster asks us to look at the other side of the well-worn coin that links environmental degradation and resource despoliation to conflict and war. Instead, argues Amster, conflict zones have been shown to be appropriate sites for the creation of peace parks and other similar initiatives, where they can be turned into regions of enhanced sustainability—in every sense of the word, including environmental, social, and economic.

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A Tale of Two Sustainabilities: Comparing Sustainability in the Global North and South to Uncover Meaning for Educators

By Richard Vercoe and Robert Brinkmann

In this interesting comparison of sustainability in very different geographic and cultural settings—Long Island, New York versus the Chiloé archipelago, Chile—Vercoe and Brinkmann suggest that the societal framework for sustainability requires very different educational efforts. Their in-depth analysis of how these societal frameworks are almost diametrically opposed opens us to understanding how important geography is to the way we formulate our educational goals and systems.

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The Sacred Breath: Teachings from the Inner Landscape

By Jennifer Finn

Jenny Finn reminds us that we all carry a full geography of internal landscapes, embodied in the simple act of breathing. As we consider the deep and complex issues that entering learning about sustainability in the outer world, is it not essential, she asks, that we connect, profoundly through each breath we take, with those internal landscapes?

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Future Climate Change in the Global South

By Kenneth Young

In this comprehensive review, Kenneth Young gives a robust and sweeping analysis of how global climate change might affect landscapes in the global South. His unique emphasis on including the human element, within both a current societal and historical-political framework—provides a hefty morsal of food for thought regarding the multiple and complex ways in which real cultural and natural landccapes will respond to global warming.

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Beyond the Monoculture: Strengthening Local Culture, Economy and Knowledge

By Helena Norberg-Hodge

In this deeply cohesive and fundamentally geographic argument, Helena Norberg-Hodge brings an impressive array of sustainability issues under a single guiding rubric for educating and changing society—the need for a shift from globalised systems to local practice. While every point in her argument is backed with interesting details—including her fascinating experiences with the Himalayan Ladakhi people—she is consistent in bringing us back to valuing localisation and yet measured in her prescription which calls for gradual shifts, not radical and potentially harmful jumps, towards localisation.

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A New Agenda for Science Education

By Maceo Carrillo Martinet

Maceo Carrillo Martinet calls for bringing the local geography of sustainability into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curricula, all the while framing this call in the global context of climate change. He makes a convincing case, based on the experiences of the Instituto Querencia in New Mexico, for using three principals to guide STEM curricula: students as agents of change; diverse cultural perspectives enrich the curriculum; and involve the local community—wherever you might be—in the curriculum.

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For the Child and the World – a language of connection in education for sustainability. Fertile minds seeking dirt.

By Linda Zibell

In this report from “down under,” Linda Zibell recounts the triumph of eco-centric language over a techno-centric approach to bringing sustainability into the Australian school curriculum. She brings deep insight into deconstructing the power of word choice and language patterns with real examples of how school-age kids might perceive and understand the words we use.

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Food Futures: A Poetic Essay

By Pramod Parajuli

The problems we are facing are linked.
It is not a set of problems.
It is a system of problems.
Now it is time to look at the system of solutions.
— Janine Benyus, Nobel Laureate Symposium, 2011.

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4 Inches of Living Soil: Teaching Biodiversity in the Learning Gardens–A photo-essay

By Dilafruz Williams

In Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools to Life, Williams and Brown (2011) place living soil at the center of the discourse on sustainability education. One of the seven principles that guides their pedagogy of learning gardens is: valuing biocultural diversity. This photo-essay of elementary students in K-8 schools, explores how 4 inches of soil in the learning gardens can teach about life’s diversity. The author urges humble attentiveness to that which is below our feet seemingly hidden and unnoticed yet teeming with life.

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Where Can Green IT/IS Education and Training Be Found Today? An Initial Assessment of Sources

By Ellen England and Summer Bartczak

The push toward sustainability & “greening” in organizations is evident in the Federal government as well as within the private sector. A more specific focus on “greening” information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) can also be seen. As might be expected, a corresponding increase in green jobs is also occurring with many of those jobs focused on IT. The trouble with filling green jobs, IT or otherwise, is finding educated and qualified workers to fill them. As a result, there is a growing demand for green computing education. As early research has indicated, however, the demand for green computing knowledge by those in industry is only slowly making its way to the academic world. A recent study by Sendall (2010) identified a surprising “lack” of green IT/IS/computing and/or sustainability curriculum initiatives in institutions of higher education. With this knowledge as background, this research efforts attempts to identify, even so: Where can green computing education and/or training be found today?

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Planting the Seed of Sustainability: Languages and Cultures Fertilize an Organic Garden at Miami Dade College

By Anouchka Rachelson

In this fascinating case study from Miami Dade College, Anouchka provides us with a detailed and subtle look at the effects of a simple school garden on her students. The garden’s potential to build a sense of community and place as well as a new environmental ethic is developed through vivid vignettes woven throughout the description of how Anouchka and her colleagues launched the project. The garden project described is a powerful example of complex, interdisciplinary teaching that also takes advantage of the college’s physical campus to foster experiential learning and cultural exchange. Whether or not readers are involved in similar projects, this story is important for its illustration of the interconnectivity and endless learning possible in any discipline from a connection to the living earth.

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Enhancement of the Construction Engineering and Management Curriculum through Physical Energy Assessment of City Facilities

By Matija Radovic and Terri R. Norton

As we continue into the future, if we hope to move in the direction of sustainability, the question of energy efficiency in buildings old and new becomes increasingly relevant and key to success. Read this article by Dr. Terri Norton and Matija Ratovic to learn about efforts I the Midwest to prepare university students to take on this task.

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Working Towards Sustainability One Room at a Time

By David S. Heroux and Grace Eason

There is much discussion in sustainability education about the urgent need for a wholesale paradigm shift and much debate about the role of incremental, grassroots change in societal transformation. Eason and Heroux describe a creative and pragmatic project that addresses behavior change through an incremental approach. Their case study provides a provocative example of how a grassroots effort to change energy consumption can have growing implications for campuses’ climate impact through the viral nature of student culture. Their “Green’s List” is a fine and replicable model for the role of celebration in community transformation.

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Values and Participation: the role of culture in nature preservation and environmental education among the Baganda

By Lssozi

Decent life depends on nature’s provision of stable resources. In this report I explore cultural efforts embedded within nature preservation and environmental education among the indigenous Baganda and how these can be emulated to inform modern environment conservation programmes. Accordingly, environmental conservation in Buganda was guided by clearly streamlined gender roles and cultural values through spirituality and the clan system which defined the ethical relationships between human culture and the environment. The key challenges towards this include gender inequality and the associated stereotypes, the political climate in the country, and modern religions. Successful mitigations should essentially hinge on integrating indigenous conservation methods in formal school curriculum as well as undertaking sensitization and empowerment campaigns geared towards nature preservation.

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Integrating Culture as a Cornerstone of Success in Sustainability Education: A Case Study, Youth Allies for Sustainability Leadership Program, Earth Care, Santa Fe, NM

By Christina Selby

Environmental sustainability cannot be separated from social justice. Christina Selby presents a compelling case study of sustainability work grounded in cultural democracy, or processes that involve all groups in community decision-making. In the Youth Allies for Sustainability Leadership Program, young residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico, address ecological integrity through intercultural healing, relationship-building, and advocacy. Selby grounds her case in the broader theoretical work of eco-justice and transformative education. She highlights the urgent need to further integrate the defense of cultural integrity with the protection and restoration of ecological balance and economic vitality. This case study is a shining model for such integration.

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Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World, by Frederique Apffel-Marglin (Oxford University Press, 2011)—A Review Essay

By Pramod Parajuli

In this deep review of Frederique Apffel-Marglin’s Subversive Spiritualties, Pramod Prajuli takes us to the bio-cultural landscapes in the heart of the high Andes and Amazon of Peru where he so elegantly explains, based on the book, how the true understanding, and regeneration, of this landscape requires acceptance of a profoundly different, non-technical, non-reductionist, and non-“Western” mindset. The esay illustrates residue of enchanted bio-cultural patrimony, as it still survives and thrives in the Peruvian highlands as well as in the High Amazon. The core message of the book is to show that this patrimony is not a one-way street where the humans enact on nature but rather a two-way street where nature also enacts upon members of human species.

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