Talking with Green Teachers
Episode 18: Inclusion and accessibility in the outdoors

Episode 18: Inclusion and accessibility in the outdoors

July 22, 2021

With Karen Lai of the City of Vancouver and inclusionaccessibility.com

Does inclusion mean “everyone belongs”? Why do so many organizations aim for a segmented rather than blended population? What role does personal vulnerability play in this discussion? Inclusion and Accessibility Consultant Karen Lai joined us to talk about how to navigate the messiness and complexity of accommodating many-layered people in outdoor settings. There’s no one-size-fits all approach, but with open communication, outside-the-box thinking, and adherence to the principle that “it takes two to tango,” people can usually figure out a path forward. (Oh, and we talked about kayaking with orcas, too.)   

Guest:

Along with being the Accessibility Planner for the City of Vancouver, Karen Lai is an Inclusion and Accessibility Consultant through which she facilitates inclusion training for companies, educators, organizations, and other special interest groups. Karen completed her undergraduate degree in outdoor recreation and her master’s in human kinetics with a focus in examining the social theories of inclusion. Karen lives with cerebral palsy and loves to get out to play in the outdoors. Learn more at https://www.inclusionaccessibility.com/.

Episode 17: Stone Soup to prepare youths for a sustainable world

Episode 17: Stone Soup to prepare youths for a sustainable world

July 16, 2021

With Marianne Larned of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute

What makes the challenges of today especially daunting for young people? How can we foster in youths a sense of hope that is also grounded in reality? Why are meaningful green jobs going unfilled? What role do schools play in preparing students for a sustainable future? We discussed these questions in depth with Marianne Larned of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, while also exploring some of the 100 stories in her latest book Stone Soup for a Sustainable World: Life-changing Stories of Young Heroes.

Guest:

Marianne Larned is the Stone Soup Leadership Institute’s Founding Director and the best-selling author of two books titled Stone Soup for a Sustainable World, the latest being Life-changing Stories of Young Heroes, published in June 2021. From the Institute’s website, “Marianne is a sustainability champion, workforce development strategist, Design Thinking pragmatist and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) pioneer. She has assisted Fortune 500 companies, Chambers of Commerce, education, government, civic and community leaders to develop public-private partnerships to improve economic development, education, and health care.”

Episode 16: Using an app to connect to outdoor spaces

Episode 16: Using an app to connect to outdoor spaces

July 7, 2021

With Bridget Booth and Leah Higgins of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) and the MiPINES app

How can we connect people to outdoor spaces in their state or province? An app might not be the first thing that comes to mind, as so many are looking for ways to decrease screen time and increase green time. But maybe a bit of screen time on a carefully constructed app like MiPINES can ultimately get more people outdoors. How do these technologies impact experiential environmental educators like park naturalists? What are some of the keys to leveraging digital tools for outdoor learning? We discussed these topics and more… and got off on a tangent about the super-picky Kirtland’s Warblers in northern Michigan.

Guests:

Bridget Booth is an 8th-grade science teacher at Haslett Middle School and a certified environmental educator in Michigan. She got her start in education at Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing and has been taking students outdoors to learn ever since. She is currently the president of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), whose mission is to support, inspire, and empower a diverse network of individuals with a passion for environmental and outdoor learning. Bridget lives with her husband and two sons in East Lansing and will spend her summer reading, playing in the northern woods, and swimming in the Great Lakes.

Leah Higgins is beginning a career in environmental education after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Eastern Michigan University in 2019. After graduation, she worked as a volunteer intern for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and is now serving as the Education Programs Developer at the DNR RAM Center via Huron Pines AmeriCorps. Leah recognizes place-based education as a valuable component of any environmental ethic, noting that the environment is not a place “out there” but is instead the place where we all live.

Episode 15: A climate solutions game (and Woolly Mammoths!)

Episode 15: A climate solutions game (and Woolly Mammoths!)

May 31, 2021

With Samuel Levac-Levey from Solutions the Game and Work on Climate

We know we need to spend time in the “solutions space” when teaching about climate change, but how do we go about this? Can we leverage the popularity of gaming? Samuel Levac-Levey thinks so, so he’s created the board game Solutions, inspired by Project Drawdown. In this wide-ranging discussion, we discuss the advent of the game as well as the awesomeness of human potential, disinformation about renewable technologies like electric vehicles, extending gameplay into real-world action, the 3.5% rule, and, yes, Woolly Mammoths!  

Guest:

Samuel Levac-Levey is a mechanical engineer from Montréal, Canada. He is a core team member of the entrepreneurial community Work on Climate and the creator of the soon-to-be-released board game Solutions, in which players debate the relative impacts of various innovative climate solutions. The seeds of the game were planted at the Project Drawdown conference in September 2019, where Tetris creator Henk Rogers suggested turning Drawdown into a board game. (Paraphrased from https://solutionsthegame.com/about/)

Transition music:

"Takeover of the 8-bit Synths" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Episode 14: Filling gaps in climate ed. according to teens

Episode 14: Filling gaps in climate ed. according to teens

May 17, 2021

With Gabriel Gitter-Dentz, Kevin Zhou, and Adam Rudt of Hunter College High School and the Bridging the Carbon Gap podcast

How can students make up for lost time when they haven’t learned much about climate change at school? When is the right time to introduce climate education? How should it be handled? Can gaming be an effective educational tool? These are all top-of-mind considerations for Hunter College High School seniors Gabriel Gitter-Dentz, Kevin Zhou, and Adam Rudt. This trio of teens joined us to discuss their experiences with climate education (or lack thereof), how and when to introduce climate ed., and how their podcast, Bridging the Carbon Gap, came to be. We also somehow got onto talking about a new role that George Clooney could play in a movie about the foundational climate law in the United States.    

Guests (in their own words):

My name is Gabriel Gitter-Dentz. I am a senior at Hunter College High School and live in Manhattan. My favorite subject is Chemistry. Aside from creating the Bridging the Carbon Gap podcast, I play basketball for my school and for fun, and I am an assistant teacher at my synagogue's religious school.

I'm Kevin Zhou, and I'm currently a senior at Hunter College High School. I enjoy studying Math and Physics. Outside of academics, I spend time on my PS4 or playing basketball.

I’m Adam Rudt. I am a senior at Hunter College High School and my favorite subjects are Biology and French. In my free time I enjoy birdwatching, playing basketball, and making podcasts.

Transition music:

"Odyssey" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Episode 13: Talking cli-fi with Guy

Episode 13: Talking cli-fi with Guy

April 30, 2021

With Guy Walton from guyonclimate.com

Have you entered the world of cli-fi yet? If not, join us for this lively conversation with meteorologist and children’s cli-fi author Guy Walton. Guy shares his insights on climate anxiety, “malevolent molecules,” misinformation versus disinformation, balancing hope and reality, and how his series’ central character Thermo came to be. Little Shop of Horrors came up in discussion, too, but you’ll have to listen to find out why…

Transition music:

"Call to Adventure" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Guest:

Guy Walton is a meteorologist who is a 30-year veteran of the Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia. He became convinced that humankind was causing climate change shortly after Dr. James Hanson’s testimony in 1988. Guy is a native Georgian who graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology and a minor in mathematics in 1983. He cares about what his generation will leave for the future of humanity. He hopes that his small contribution to climate science will aid others, lighting the way towards a better future for this planet. (From http://www.guyonclimate.com/about-guy/)

Episode 12: Puppetry, upcycling, and a puppet chat!

Episode 12: Puppetry, upcycling, and a puppet chat!

April 20, 2021

With Mike Harding of Applefun Puppetry and two of his puppet pals

How can puppetry be used in educational settings? What’s the right balance between entertainment and education in a puppet show? Which recycled materials make for great puppets? In this special two-part episode for Earth Week 2021, Ian chats with puppeteer Mike Harding before having an oceanside conversation with his two new puppet friends, Lobert the lobster and the Purple Pirate. There’s also talk of muppets (Kermit impression included!) and tales of puppet shows where things didn’t go exactly as planned.  

Transition music:

"March of the Spoons" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Guests:

Mike Harding , Chief Puppeteer of Applefun Puppetry, has performed professionally for over 20 years. He has conducted thousands of puppet shows at libraries, schools, and birthday parties. Mike studied Improvisational Comedy at Second City, an experience that allows him to add a unique and spontaneous flavour to his shows. Applefun Puppetry Puppet Shows are characteristically interactive with a high degree of audience participation.

Lobert (AKA “Lob”) is a lobster — specifically, an oven-mitt lobster (and he doesn’t mind if you know that). He likes whales and sea life in general. His boss, the Purple Pirate (AKA “Captain Purple”), has a crew of four(ish) mates who accompany him on his many adventures throughout the world’s oceans. He is currently focused on finding the big purple whale, one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep!  

Episode 11: Boosting the longevity and relevance of school and botanical gardens

Episode 11: Boosting the longevity and relevance of school and botanical gardens

April 15, 2021

With Todd Beasley of the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina and University of South Carolina

Why is horticulture misunderstood in so many schools? What is the largest barrier to sustained success with school gardens? How can botanical gardens become more culturally relevant? To what extent do non-profit board composition and recruitment practices impact the cultural relevance of botanical gardens? These are some of the big questions that Todd Beasley joined us to discuss in our latest episode. More than a few plant puns found their way into the conversation, too!

Transition music:

"Garden Music" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Guest:

Todd Beasley, Green Teacher’s Regional Editor for South Carolina (SC), has 25 years of experience in horticulture and education. Between stops at three botanical gardens, Todd taught 5th-grade Environmental Science and continuing education Horticulture classes. Todd also served as the School Environmental Education Director at Heathwood Hall in Columbia, South Carolina, USA, where his students created a nationally recognized youth gardening program. Todd wrote the proposal that brought the American Horticultural Society’s Annual Children and Youth Gardening Symposium to Columbia, SC in 2016. Todd is currently the owner of Primitive by Design, an eco-friendly garden design firm, and is an Elementary Education professor at the University of South Carolina.

Todd’s article, Richard Headstrom — STEAMING Ahead with STEM 75 Years Ago, appeared in our spring 2021 issue of Green Teacher magazine.

Episode 10: Teaching enviro. ed. using comic books

Episode 10: Teaching enviro. ed. using comic books

March 15, 2021

With Louis Yuen and Charlie Kistler of Infinity Eight Productions

Making research studies on topics like climate change, microplastic pollution, and biodiversity loss relevant and interesting for children is… well… hard. How can it be done without making eco-anxiety worse? Louis Yuen, Charlie Kistler, and the team at Infinity Eight Productions have a solution: comic books! Join us for this wide-ranging discussion about everything from striking the right tone and navigating pushback to finding the “sweet spot” of anthropomorphizing. We also ask what the sun and trees would say if they could talk… 

Click here to learn more about the Noella Environmental Education comic book series.

Transition music by JuliusH from Pixabay

Guests:

Louis Yuen is the creative mind behind Infinity Eight Productions. Before becoming interested in sustainability and climate action, Louis spent a decade as an architect on high end design projects. On a project for the Shanghai Disneyland in 2012 Louis became painfully aware of humanity's pollution problems. That experience encouraged him to create educational materials for kids. Louis now spends his time on his dream of creating animation projects dedicated to environmental preservation and educating himself on current topics in sustainability. He believes animation has the power to enlighten, and his passion is to bring these animation project ideas to life.

Charlie Kistler is a president and producer of Infinity Eight Productions. Charlie, a former camp counselor, ski instructor, lacrosse coach, and mentor has long been interested in teaching and coaching kids. He first became involved in climate issues while volunteering for Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. He holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA in Biology from Whitman College and previously worked as an infectious disease researcher and oncology consultant. In his free time, Charlie loves to ski, garden, and go hiking with his dog.

Episode 09: Facilitating children’s outdoor play

Episode 09: Facilitating children’s outdoor play

March 2, 2021

With Monica Wiedel-Lubinski of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS)

How can educators and guardians best guide and facilitate hands-on nature play among children? It starts with being hands-off and letting kids explore, experiment, inquire — heck, even make a few mistakes — in an unstructured outdoor environment, big or small. Nature play expert Monica Wiedel-Lubinski joined us to talk about these ideas and more, including the differences between risks and hazards, the value of loose-parts play, and her favourite activities from her new book, which she co-wrote with Karen Madigan.    

Guest:

Naturalist and educator Monica Wiedel-Lubinski is the director of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS), which builds capacity for equitable nature-based education through professional development. She co-founded the Wild Haven Forest Preschool in 2017 as well as the Notchcliff Nature Preschool at Glen Meadows Retirement Community  in 2019. Monica also works as a keynote speaker and consultant for nature-based schools and natural play spaces. Her book Nature Play Workshop for Families, co-authored with Karen Madigan, was published in 2020 by Quarry Books.  

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