After many years as a passionate advocate for conservation and sustainability, I was excited to have a chance to write a series of Earth Science/Systems books for a NASA sponsored interactive, educational project called Project 3D-VIEW (Virtual Interactive Environmental Worlds). The program uses real-time migration and meteorological data to engage kids in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics while learning about Atmosphere, Geosphere, Biosphere, Aquasphere, and the interconnection of all Earth systems. I created a series of text-based stories to help middle-school students understand and absorb both the basic scientific concepts and what they mean for life on Earth. Below are excerpts from three of the readers.
A group of parents, collaborating with teachers and city employees were able to launch new initiatives and practices in a public elementary school in New York City, with over 950 students.
School Wide Compost Pilot (NYC DOE & DOS)
The introduction of school-wide composting required both changes in waste management systems AND a cultural change for the staff and students. In order to help students and faculty understand how composting worked and why we needed to do it, we organized class by class educational outreach to the basic science of sustainability.
Rangers from one 5th grade class, and one 4th grade class evaluated their own classroom’s paper recycling AND paper recycling in other classes weekly. This year the program will expand and older grades will also educate and evaluate younger grades on their paper recycling.
All major PA sponsored events now offer a water station so people may refill re-usable water bottles rather than buy drinks in plastic bottles.
Reduced Plastic Consumption
In a campaign to reduce plastic waste at fundraising events we: introduced an alternative prize table where students could donate their prize coupons to make a donation to Heifer International in lieu of taking a disposable prize, decreased activities creating excessive waste, and banned distribution of helium balloons by vendors.
Upcycling and Recycled Art
Students collected over 130lbs of plastic caps and dead pens/markers in 5 months. The dead pens/markers were sent for specialized upcycling (these items would otherwise have been destined for a landfill), and used the plastic caps in a community Art Project – building a sculpture/quilt of plastic caps inspired by Ghanian artist El-Anatsui.