In July of 2007, my life changed forever – by attending a workshop. I remember reading the flyer. “Best workshop I’ve ever taken,” raved one teacher. Really? I wondered how they could spend three days talking about one thing – the monarch butterfly.
2013 Environmental Education websites - Top 10
If we want students to grow up to be environmentally responsible, we have to teach them the importance of a sustainable future. We can’t just expect them to learn this on their own. There are a variety of great environmental education and recycling websites where you students can learn more about a sustainable future while having fun. Wondering where to find these websites? Here’s a look at 10 of the top websites that promote the care and protection of the environment while encouraging students to be stewards of the planet.
Campsite 24 (www.campsite24.ca)
Campsite 24 provides resources and ideas for students and teachers, while highlighting Ontario’s parks and protected areas. The website provides lesson plans, photocopy masters, and background information based on the Ontario Curriculum expectations for grades 2 to 6.
Canadian Wildlife Federation (www.cwf-fcf.org/)
The Canadian Wildlife Federation focuses on national issues that impact Canada’s wildlife populations, with the aim of ensuring that wildlife populations and their habitats in all areas of Canada are conserved in a sustainable manner for future generations. Lesson plans, program ideas and resources are available for all divisions. A login is required.
David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org)
The David Suzuki Foundation works with government, business and individuals to conserve the environment by providing science-based research, education and policy work. The goals of the foundation are to: protect climate, transform the economy, protect nature, reconnect with nature and build communities. The site includes issue-based resources (climate change, health, oceans, wildlife and habitat, freshwater), news releases, publications, blogs, challenges and a link to donate.
Recent work that directly supports teachers includes the free teacher resource: Connecting With Nature: an educational guide for grades four to six. This resource is filled with fun activities that get kids outside to explore issues like biodiversity, where our food comes from and how to conserve energy.
EarthCARE teacher resources focus on energy conservation, waste reduction, and water conservation across subject areas and various grades. Through a variety of resources and ideas, students are encouraged to make environmental connections between home, school and the larger community. Resources include environmental lesson plans and activities, videos, programming ideas as well as links to websites on these topics.
The EcoKids site contains eco-games and activities for students and parents and a teachers’ lounge offering a wide variety of free environmental resources and lesson plans. Other resources include a forum where students can share opinions on a variety of environmental topics, a take action link and an eco-reporters link.
EZone – Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) (www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment)
The Teachers’ Zone provides free resources to support the delivery of environmental education in the grades 1 – 6 classrooms. The learning resources section of the link includes environmental education support documents, a list of recommended books to read with students, and web links for teachers and their classes. The E-Zone section also provides teachers with hands-on, ready-to-use classroom tools.
Imagineaction is a program designed to facilitate teacher-student-community interaction in social action. Imagineaction builds on the successful Green Street program by enhancing the strictly environmental focus to include a focus on six themes – Connect (relationships), Engage (participatory citizenship), Thrive (Health and Wellness), Lead (Leadership), Live (environmental sustainability), and Care (poverty). Each of these themes in intertwined in a program geared to facilitate action after teachers and students have engaged in a critical thinking exercise about the issue that they want to take on. Resources, available to teachers and students on a trusted platform, provide a key tools and strategies that support a sustainable future. A login is required. ETFO is part of the Imagineaction Federation Affiliates Workgroup.
Natural Curiosity (www.naturalcuriosity.ca)
Natural Curiosity is an inquiry-based environmental and sustainability education resource for Ontario elementary school teachers. Published in print and online by The Laboratory School at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (OISE/UT), Natural Curiosity made its official launch on Tuesday May 10th, 2011, where it was endorsed by keynote addresses from two Canadian environmental giants: world-renowned photographic artist, Edward Burtynsky, and award-winning scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster, Dr. David Suzuki. The resource serves as a guide for teachers seeking a powerful way to make both the content and process of learning about the world more engaging and relevant for their students. ETFO assisted in the development of the supporting Companion Guide for Natural Curiosity.
Resources for Rethinking (www.r4r.ca)
Resources for Rethinking is a project developed by Learning for a Sustainable Future. This free, online database provides teachers with over 700 lesson plans, worksheets and other teaching resources that integrate environmental, social and economic spheres through learning that is interdisciplinary and action oriented. R4R resources have been reviewed by teachers and are aligned with the Ontario curriculum.
The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada (www.janegoodall.ca)
The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada supports wildlife research, education and conservation. The Institute promotes informed and compassionate action to improve the environment shared by all Earth’s living creatures.
The objectives of the Institute are: to increase Canadian awareness of and compassion for the plight of endangered animals, with a focus on chimpanzees; to foster public understanding of the interconnected nature of the human, animal and ecological community; to increase support for habitat and species conservation, particularly for wild chimpanzees; to promote activities that ensure the well-being of wild and captive chimpanzees; to provide training in and support for environmental and humanitarian education and action; and to inspire and engage Canadians to take action in local and global environmental and humanitarian initiatives.
* ETFO members made contributions to this list. It was compiled by Jason Johnston, ETFO Professional Services staff.