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Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in taking a look at some of these online resources related to green/environmental education. These websites provide ideas for curriculum, lesson plans, and hands-on activities for teachers and students. Many of these resources are related to K-12 education, but some also apply to higher education.

Best Practices in Green Education (U.S. Green Building Council)

Center for Ecoliteracy

Center for Environmental Education

Children & Nature Network

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

Earth Day Network: Educators’ Network

Eco-Schools USA (National Wildlife Federation)

EE-Link (from the North American Association of Environmental Education)

Energy Education: Teach and Learn (K-12 energy-related lesson plans and activities, from the U.S. Department of Energy)

Energy Kids (U.S. Environmental Information Administration)

Green Education Foundation (GEF)

Greening Schools project (Illinois EPA):  “Green Your Lesson Plan” directory

National Energy Education Development Project

National Environmental Education Foundation

U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools

U.S. EPA Teaching Center and Environmental Education resources

U.S. Green Schools Foundation: Education/Curriculum

Outdoor education is an important branch of environmental education. The concept of “nature-deficit disorder” is described in the bestselling book Last Child in the Woods.

It’s especially important for urban youth, who may never have spent any time outside of their neighborhoods or cities, to be given opportunities to explore and learn in nature/wilderness settings. At-risk youth can benefit greatly from outdoor learning experiences provided by wilderness programs such as Outward Bound, as well as farm-based programs like those offered by the Center for Land-Based Learning.

For additional resources on green curricula, click here. And if you know of other useful resources related to environmental education, please share your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Related Post: Green Schools Resources and Links (mostly related to greening school buildings/facilities)

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October 4, 2010
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Green school buildings have multiple benefits and advantages, including:

  • reduced use of energy and water, and reduced materials waste;
  • lower operating costs, i.e., financial savings that can be used to fund other improvements or activities;
  • a healthier and more comfortable learning (and teaching) environment, resulting in better student performance (including higher test scores), improved health of all of the schools’ occupants (and therefore, fewer sick days), as well as more satisfied teachers and staff; and
  • new opportunities for on-site, hands-on environmental learning.

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, school administrator, or building professional, you may be interested in learning more about green schools. Here is a listing of many of the key websites, organizations, guidelines, and initiatives related to green schools, with a focus on school buildings/facilities (design of new buildings, retrofitting existing buildings, as well as the daily operations and maintenance of the buildings). Most of these resources are related to K-12 schools, but some of the information also applies to higher education facilities.


Key Organizations and Information Websites

Center for Green Schools (U.S. Green Building Council)

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)

Earth Day Network: Green Your School

Eco-Schools USA (National Wildlife Federation)

EnergySmart Schools (U.S. Department of Energy)

Global Green USA: Green Schools program

Green Schools Alliance

Healthy Schools Network

High Performance Schools (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

LEED for Schools (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Rating System, USGBC)

U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools

U.S. Green Schools Foundation

For information on getting financing for green / energy efficiency projects, check out these sites: the National Education Foundation/ U.S. Department of Education’s Qualified School Construction Bonds, the California Energy Commission’s Energy Efficiency loans, PG&E’s School Resource Program (for schools within the PG&E utility area), and the DSIRE Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. For additional links related to funding for green projects, see my post on Green Tax Credits, Rebates, and Other Financial Incentives.

Examples of Local and Regional Initiatives


Related Post: Green Curricula and Environmental Learning Activities (i.e., environmental education)

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October 1, 2010
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