Talking with Green Teachers
Episode 45: World Rivers Day

Episode 45: World Rivers Day

September 16, 2022

With Mark Angelo of World Rivers Day

When did World Rivers Day begin? How can educators get involved in it? What inspired the children’s book The Little Creek That Could? In what ways do rivers and streams benefit ecosystems, humans, and other life forms? Children’s author and World Rivers Day founder Mark Angelo discusses the value of rivers and streams, the threats they face, what educators can do to mark World Rivers Day, and how communities of learners and educators can collaborate at any scale on river/stream explorations and clean-ups. There’s also talk of trout, salmon, and water striders… 

Guest (from https://www.thelittlecreekthatcould.com/):

Mark Angelo is a globally renowned river conservationist, speaker, teacher, writer, and paddler. He is the Chair and founder of World Rivers Day, now celebrated by millions of people in close to 100 countries. Among his many accolades, he is a recipient of the Order of Canada for his efforts to protect and restore rivers both locally and around the world. Mark has paddled more than 1000 rivers in over 100 countries and his work has been the subject of several feature films. He has led numerous river and stream restoration efforts, including those along Guichon Creek, “the little creek that could.” Mark resides in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, where he continues to mentor conservation groups and young people with an interest in water-related issues.

Copies of The Little Creek That Could can be ordered from https://www.thelittlecreekthatcould.com/.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 44: Phenology-based teaching

Episode 44: Phenology-based teaching

August 30, 2022

With Larry Weber of Kollath-Stensaas Publishing

What is phenology? How does phenology-based teaching work? How does it compare to textbook-based teaching? Naturalist, author, and retired teacher Larry Weber used a phenological approach to teaching for over 25 years with his middle school students, and it opened up endless opportunities for learning and growth. While he adhered less to state standards, Larry was able to help his students foster life skills, much to their benefit. Larry joined us to talk phenology-based teaching and share his insights about spiders and their webs.

Guest:

Larry Weber is a retired teacher of 40 years in middle and high school. For 25, he taught a phenology-based science class. This award-winning class was highly successful. Upon retirement, he became a speaker at teacher conferences and taught University for Seniors, Minnesota Master Naturalists, and Road Scholars. He has written more than 15 books. These are about wildlife of the North WoodsSpiders, Butterflies, Fungi — and other phenology topics: Minnesota Phenology, Webwood, and In a Patch of Goldenrods. He lives on a "forested former farm" in Carlton County, Minnesota, USA where he watches critters and the seasons.

*To purchase some of Larry’s books, visit https://www.kollathstensaas.com/.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 43: Regenerative education, incl. learning session

Episode 43: Regenerative education, incl. learning session

August 20, 2022

With Annie Roth of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

What is a RELC? How can schoolyards be used in place-based learning? Why is it sometimes important for educators to become co-learners with their students? In this episode, we first hear about Tremont’s RELC as well as the Institute’s approach to supporting learners (educators included) before partaking in a virtual learning session that includes a grounding exercise and an activity called My New Best Friend. We also get into regenerative education: what it is and how it manifests.

Guest:

Annie Roth has been called to connect with the land since she was young. Growing up in Michigan, she trounced in the Little Manistee River finding frogs, getting messy, and always wondering. Her curiosity led her to pursue a career in education, sharing in the wonders of the world around her with others. After college, life brought her to Nashville where she worked within project-based learning schools and earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. She is excited to now bridge her two loves — teaching and the outdoors — working to connect people with nature alongside the Tremont team. In her spare time, you can find Annie obsessing over a newly found fungi, hiking in the backcountry with her husband and their pup, Maple, or enjoying the water by kayak or paddle board.

*Natural sounds recorded by Tara Shumate

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 42: Food forest gardening

Episode 42: Food forest gardening

August 11, 2022

With Wendy Nadherny Fachon of Story Walking Radio Hour

What is food forest gardening? How can educators leverage it for impactful learning? What does corporative learning have to do with this? Wendy Fachon has her own food forest garden, and she sees great potential for food forest gardening in environmental education. She also shares her insights about nature drawing as a powerful pedagogical tool and tells a story about a serendipitous discovery of Red Mulberry trees.  

Guest:

Wendy Nadherny Fachon hosts the Story Walking Radio Hour, which focuses on environmental education and sustainable living content. She is Rhode Island's regional editor for Green Teacher and writes articles for Natural Awakenings Magazine's Boston edition and D7RN's Sustainable Living News. Wendy is also an Abundance Ambassador for Food Forest Abundance. As an environmental educator, she currently develops and teaches Nature Drawing curriculum for The Empowerment Factory, based in Pawtucket, RI. She is solutions-oriented, which requires acknowledging the problems, understanding the underlying causes, and identifying solutions that are based on sound science. Access her podcasts at www.storywalking.com.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 41: Farm to school

Episode 41: Farm to school

July 29, 2022

With Jen Cirillo and Betsy Rosenbluth of Shelburne Farms

What is farm to school? Are there any common misconceptions about it? Why is farm to school such an essential part of the educational journey? In this lively discussion, Jen and Betsy walk us through the three Cs of farm to school, how educators can better incorporate it into their teaching (without taking up too much extra time!), the core values underlying the practice, and the ways our current food system reinforces injustice and inequity. There’s also talk of salamanders, overcoming barriers, forging meaningful relationships, and the importance of throwing a party! (A bad plant pun might have found its way into the mix, too…)

Guests:

Jen Cirillo serves as Director of Professional Learning at Shelburne Farms. She brings 20 years of experience in Education for Sustainability (EFS) from co-developing and teaching a teen program integrating art, science, and sustainability to her most recent work leading professional learning programs around the world. Jen has a strong background in standards-based curriculum development, facilitation, and evaluation, plus a wealth of experience engaging schools and communities in creating a vision for a just and healthy future. Jen holds a B.S. from the University of Vermont and an M.S. from the Audubon Expedition Institute/Lesley University.

Betsy Rosenbluth is Project Director of Vermont FEED, a nationally recognized farm-to-school partnership program of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and Shelburne Farms.  Betsy also helped to establish the Burlington School Food Project and Education for Sustainability programs in Burlington schools. Prior to joining Shelburne Farms, Betsy was Director of Projects at the Orton Family Foundation.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 40: Placed-based education and life cycles

Episode 40: Placed-based education and life cycles

July 25, 2022

With Todd Ormiston of North Country School and Camp Treetops

How do students benefit from place-based learning? In what ways does it foster ruggedness, resourcefulness, and resilience? Why is it helpful for adolescents to bear witness to life cycles of fellow living things? While many educators and learners in public education systems are constrained by standardized tests and fixed learning outcomes, those at the North Country School in Lake Placid, New York, USA, have the freedom to adjust their teaching and learning journeys as they evolve. Todd Ormiston discusses the inner working of the North Country School, including high-impact experiences like their farm-to-school program.

Guest:

Todd Ormiston’s 20+ year career in independent schools is marked by a commitment to exceptional programming. Having held a variety of roles from educator to head of school at numerous institutions including Vermont Academy, Stratton Mountain School, Gould Academy, Mount Snow Academy, and Sun Valley Community School, Todd is committed to an experiential learning approach, diversity and inclusion, the power of community in shaping the lives of children, and the essential benefits of outdoor education and recreation. Todd holds a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an M.Ed. from the University of Vermont. He, his wife Elizabeth, and daughters Maddox and Chase are outdoor enthusiasts who love the Adirondacks.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 39: Managing eco-anxiety and ecological grief

Episode 39: Managing eco-anxiety and ecological grief

July 15, 2022

With Day Sanchez of 2e Minds

How do eco-anxiety and ecological grief differ? What can educators do to address them with their learners? Why is solarpunk such an effective counter-narrative? Day Sanchez does extensive work in the realm of eco-emotions, so she has many important insights about how to navigate these often-turbulent waters. We know that doom-and-gloom framing leads to apathy in most people, and though it is essential to tell the truth, we must balance difficult truths with active hope grounded in realistic alternatives for the near and far future. This is where solarpunk comes into play.

Guest:

Day Sanchez is a School Psychologist, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) coach, and the founder of 2e Minds. She is dedicated to supporting the emotional, creative, and mental health of neurodivergent and Highly Sensitive children and youth. Day has over a decade of experience working with hundreds of children struggling with learning, psychological, and social-emotional challenges. She provides psycho-education on eco-emotions and helps families build inner resources, resilience, and tools to create active hope and agency. Day gives workshops on how to talk to children about the ecological crisis and offers individual and group support to children and young adults experiencing eco-anxiety.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 38: Gamification for EE

Episode 38: Gamification for EE

June 29, 2022

With Jane Ji of Springbay Studio and Grace Sadler of the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario

How can gamification be used to connect young learners with nature? In what ways do the virtual world and real world overlap? Why is competition such an impactful tool in education? What does this all have to do with managing eco-anxiety? Jane Ji of Springbay discusses the conceptual underpinnings of her iBiome and League for Green Leaders before teacher Grace Sadler shares her and her students’ experiences with Springbay’s apps. They key is using virtual games as a bridge to the natural world, not a replacement for direct contact with it. There’s lots to unpack and we do our best in the two discussions featured in this episode.

Guests:

Jane Ji is an educational game designer, naturalist, and facilitator for learning-by-doing through play. As a co-founder of Springbay Studio, she works with her team, focusing exclusively on climate education. She has created the award-winning educational game series iBiome and League for Green Leaders, the latter a one-of-its-kind online climate action platform for children around the world to compete to reduce their carbon footprints. Jane invites children to build virtual habitats, learn about how humans impact the environment, and empowers them to reduce their eco-footprint by making sustainable real-life choices. She delivers state-wide PD for teachers in Washington State and supports teachers from Toronto District School Board and various parts of the US with workshops on adding engagement and empowerment to inquiry-based learning.

Graziella (Grace) Sadler has been teaching for 15 years, and this has included seven years in a primary/junior science and technology position. She is the Vice President of The Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (STAO) and Judging Coordinator for the York Region Science and Technology Fair. She currently teaches Grade 10 Science with the Toronto Catholic District School Board at Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic Secondary School. 

Episode 37: Student-powered learning and mentorship

Episode 37: Student-powered learning and mentorship

June 17, 2022

With Jane Hiller of the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina and South Carolina Green Step Schools

What is student-powered learning? Why is it so impactful? In what ways can mentorship be most effective? How can mentors help teach in-service teachers? What is the key to sustaining environmental projects year after year? The Green Step Schools program in South Carolina, USA has been running for almost two decades, allowing students and teachers to experience such projects as vermicomposting, math gardens, and bluebird trail monitoring. The program’s coordinator Jane Hiller joined us to share her insights, while sharing stories of some of the most innovative green projects happening in the realms of conservation, protection, and restoration. 

Guest:

Jane Hiller is the coordinator of SC Green Steps Schools, a program designed to help South Carolina schools earn awards for establishing sustainability projects where students learn, do, and teach others. A former classroom teacher, Hiller understands the challenges teachers face as they seek to provide meaningful learning experiences about environmental stewardship within their schools. She recently retired as education director for Sonoco Recycling, where she was responsible for educating local governments, agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, and citizens about the importance of waste reduction, resource conservation, reuse, and recycling. She is a recipient of South Carolina's Environmental Awareness Award, an honor established by South Carolina's General Assembly to recognize outstanding contributions to the protection, conservation, and improvement of the state’s natural resources. Hiller currently serves as a board member and central section director for the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

Episode 36: Nature-based healing

Episode 36: Nature-based healing

May 29, 2022

With Susanne Heaton of Motivated By Nature

Why are an increasing number of doctors prescribing national park passes to patients? How does stress impact our bodies? What evidence supports the practice of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku)? Why is the “happy gardener” more than a stereotype? Drawing on copious amounts of sound research, Susanne Heaton discusses the healing benefits of direct, multi-sensory interactions with nature, while offering suggestions for how environmental educators can better connect their learners with the natural world. She also speaks to the importance of having an accountability partner during our individual journeys of nature-based healing.     

Guest:

After having some life-changing wake-up calls, Susanne Heaton took the leap of faith from the corporate world to start her own business to help others live a healthier lifestyle. She uses science-backed research on natural modalities as well as the benefits of connecting with nature in her Monthly Online Wild About Nature Challenges, Inspirational Speaking, Workshops, and Award-Winning Children’s book. Susanne is Motivated by Nature: https://learning.motivatedbynature.com/.

HEARTcare Educators: https://heartcareeducators.ca/

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