School News You Can Use – April 2014
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
- Earth Day 2014
- CLUB News
- School Recycling Conference
- NH News
EARTH DAY 2014
So here are five things you should know about Earth Day:
- Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, who was inspired by the energy and spirit of the youth-oriented anti-war movement at the time as well as the growing consciousness of water and air pollution after an oil spill in California, according to earthday.org. About 20 million people hit the streets that April 22 to promote a healthier environment. College students organized rallies against pollution. Politicians from both sides of the aisles took in this movement and created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This led to the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Act, earthday.org reports. The holiday went global in 1990 with demonstrations and events that helped usher in modern recycling efforts.
- Significance of April 22 – Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an “environmental teach-in”. He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet as it did not fall during exams or spring breaks. Moreover, it did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events—so he chose Wednesday, April 22. The day also fell after the anniversary of the birth of noted conservationist John Muir.
- There are lots of things you can do on your own to celebrate Earth Day. You can organize a neighborhood clean-up. You can walk, bike or take public transportation for one day. You can plant a butterfly bush. You can take a hike at a local park, nature preserve or even through your own neighborhood. Create a better recycling system. Take in the sights. Take a deep breath of a salty sea breeze. Notice the wonder around you, remember where you are and how lucky you are to be here.
- This should help you remember the impetus behind Earth Day, courtesy of planetpals.com: The garbage in a landfill will stay there for about 30 years. Each person throws away about four pounds of garbage a day. We each use about 12,000 gallons of water every year, and a third of that water is used to flush the toilet. Each gallon of fuel for an automobile releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. About 5 million tons of oil produced in the world each year ends up in the ocean. Recycled paper requires 64 percent less energy than making paper from wood pulp. And every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees.
- The “Earth Day Anthem” below is a universal song associated with Earth Day. Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” melody is already the official anthem of the European Union (in that case purely instrumental without lyrics), the melody is widely recognized and easily performed, in the public domain, and originally composed for voice. Lyrics for the Earth Day Anthem set to “Ode to Joy”are provided below:
Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Don’t Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes –
Don’t Like Climate Change, Then Do Something
By: Thomas Burack, NHDES Commissioner
It’s once again that time of year when many we are welcoming the return of warmer weather and being outdoors enjoying all that mother earth has to offer. With the arrival of spring also comes the celebration of Earth Day, a time when many of us think about the things we can do to maintain and restore our environment. Addressing climate change is increasingly high on the list of people’s priorities. Climate change is real, serious, substantially man-made and a condition that affects us all. However, the severity of this past winter, due in part to the phenomenon referred to as the “Polar Vortex,” has raised a fundamental question – “how can it be so cold if the planet is supposed to be warming?” The answer can be found by distinguishing between weather and climate.
A cold snap in the winter doesn’t mean that Earth’s overall temperature has stopped warming or that our climate has stopped changing. It simply means that the weather for this region, during this winter, has been cold. While New Hampshire experienced sub-zero temperatures, Alaska was in the 60s, parts of England were paralyzed by rainfall not seen in 250 years, California was experiencing a 500-year drought, and Australia was gripped by a heat wave that was killing wildlife. Weather is defined as the state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, humidity or precipitation at a given time and place. These conditions change from day to day or even from year to year.
Climate, on the other hand, describes the average weather for a region over an extended period of years. The climate is determined by the long-term weather patterns over decades. Scientists measure it by calculating the 30-year averages for weather conditions. Residents in New England a have an intuitive sense of climate, expressed as our expectations for the weather. For example, we have wardrobes for each of the four seasons, we buy vehicles that can perform in all manner of road conditions and we know the best months to head to the beach or a lake to beat the heat. Climate affects how we live, but it also affects natural systems. For instance, New England’s iconic forests are dependent on abundant rain to grow and cold temperatures to lock out southern species and pests.
While the weather varies from day to day, on a year to year basis, the climate has historically been stable, a fact that has allowed natural systems to become established and human communities to adapt to their regions’ specific conditions. However, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, Earth’s temperature has warmed considerably as greenhouse gases have trapped a greater portion of the Sun’s energy. To understand how the climate in locations around the country and globe have changed, scientists have compared recent and long-term observations of the weather patterns.
One pattern observed has been a warming in the Arctic to the north that has led to a decline in sea ice and increased snowmelt on land. Since ice and snow reflect sunlight back into space, both of them help to keep the Arctic cold. However, as they melt, they leave behind darker land and ocean water, which absorb sunlight and thereby cause increased warming in that region. An unexpected outcome of a warmer Arctic is a weaker jet stream, the high-level river of wind that circles the globe. Normally in winter, the jet stream tightly circles the Arctic, keeping the arctic air trapped to the North. But as the jet stream slows, it seems to allow frigid air to spill south and cause the severe conditions that we experienced this past winter.
Understanding the connection and distinction between weather and climate will help us all to understand how a single cold winter or cool summer doesn’t indicate that the climate has finally stopped changing or that overall temperatures on Earth have stopped rising.
The first Earth Day some forty-four years ago was a call to action to help protect and restore our environment. In a similar fashion, we should all view Earth Day 2014-and every day-as an opportunity to reduce our energy consumption to reduce the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change, and to become more prepared to deal with how climate change will impact our cities and towns, homes and businesses, and the environment all around us.
This message brought to you by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services 29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03302. Comments or Questions can be directed to Jim Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thetford Elementary School Waste Audit Summary
Charen Fegard, educator from the NRRA School CLUB, visited Thetford Elementary School in Thetford, VT last week to lead sixth graders in a Waste Audit. A day’s worth of trash, collected from classrooms and the cafeteria, resulted in a total of 12.5 pounds of trash.
Sixth graders bravely donned blue rubber gloves and sorted the trash to find out how much of the trash collected could have been either recycled or composted. Each and every bag of trash was carefully picked through. They were given an A+ rating by the CLUB for their exemplary commitment to reducing, reusing, and recycling. This was TES’s second trash audit. Last year we discovered that 97% of their trash was due to brown paper towels. Ms. Fegard informed them that they could use the paper towels as a carbon source for their composting system. Starting back in September, classrooms have been collecting the brown paper towels in colorful bins and storing them for composting use. This one simple change has reduced their trash load enormously. It also reduces our dependence on seasonal compost items such as leaves and grass clippings. It’s little steps like this that truly add up to remarkable change for our environment.
Want the same results as Thetford Elementary at your school? Let the CLUB Help!
- Improves academic performance, especially in science and math
- Can lead to financial savings for schools
- Decreases the school’s carbon footprint through practical solutions that reduce energy and water consumption
- Reduces school waste and conserves natural resources
- Encourages student environmental awareness and stewardship
- Increases parental involvement
- Helps students and teachers develop stronger relationships with their communities
Previous EPA EE-funded research at over 200 New England schools completed by the NRRA School Recycling CLUB (the CLUB) found that the single most challenging area for school recycling programs was in providing curriculum integrations that brought recycling and sustainability into classrooms to be used as the subject matter for meeting state and local curriculum standards. The intention of the CLUB programs is to address just that issue in schools across all six New England states.
Our hope is to use the CLUB’s workshops and technical assistance programs, all experiential and hands on, as a tool for educating K-12 students about consumption, proper diversion of waste, the resulting impacts on climate change and what they can do to change it. Through these offerings, we are also afforded the opportunity to link these priorities to curriculum standards. In addition, these workshops will model, for educators or community leaders, exemplary ways of teaching in creative, effective, and efficient methods about human health threats from environmental pollution as well as how to minimize human exposure to preserve good health.
5th Annual School Recycling Conference!
The CLUB, in conjunction with the Annual Northeast Recycling Conference & Expo, will host the Annual School Recycling Conference on Tuesday June 10th. This conference provides a full day of educational workshops and activities specifically tailored to school issues in recycling and the solid waste industry. The Conference & Expo is a great opportunity for students, teachers and administrators who are interested in learning more about school recycling, expanding their programs, increasing the efficiency of their current program, adding recycling education to their curricula, exchanging ideas, sharing philosophies, and further promoting waste reduction efforts. The Conference & Expo features workshops hosted by nationally recognized organizations and speakers, as well as hands-on activities that get students learning about recycling and waste reduction in a fun interactive way! During lunch, NRRA, and the School CLUB supporter, New Hampshire the Beautiful, present the School CLUB Recycling Awards in front of the entire conference audience.
**Also, please note if you are a NH student, educator or administrator there are grant opportunities available to offset the cost of attendance. Please call Caitlin at 603.736.4401 or email email@example.com.**
School Conference Workshop Preview –
Five Steps to Sustainable Culture
These five steps towards sustainable culture, although originally designed to educate students and teachers directly, are applicable to any business or institution, and the information provided will help other solid waste organizations looking for good models to present to schools.
- What’s wrong?
- Preliminary Meeting of the Minds
- Waste Prevention/Sustainability
The approach isn’t law or good pamphlets. It’s changing behavior by changing environments. I approach behavior change from a young, cultural level, examining how we make waste prevention cool and relevant. To face modern challenges means we need modern modes of communication.
When we offer attractive and simple infrastructure for waste separation, we institutionalize a waste prevention culture. When we move away from “trash” as an ugly Other and move towards stewardship, then we can make changes. Sustaining these initiatives is super important, and there are a few strategies that work very well.
Presented by Johnny Powell, the School Outreach Coordinator for the Chittenden Solid Waste District. John “Johnny” Powell works in schools K-12 throughout Chittenden County, Vermont, plus other youth organizations, to improve waste reduction efforts as part of the Chittenden Solid Waste District. He grew up in Williston, VT, and received his Bachelor Degree of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied folklore and developmental psychology. He has lived in Ohio, California, New York, and Vermont. Johnny is an artist, writer, and avid traveler. He believes the best way to a healthy future is through working with youth of today to instill a sense of empowerment, humble awareness, and mindful decision making.
Discover WILD New Hampshire Day Set for
Saturday, April 19, 2014
CONCORD, N.H. – Mark your calendars for Discover WILD New Hampshire Day, an Earth Day celebration coming this year on Saturday, April 19, 2014. This family-friendly event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department at 11 Hazen Drive in Concord, N.H. Admission is free.
This fun day is a chance to enjoy exhibits from environmental, conservation and outdoor organizations from throughout New Hampshire. See live animals, big fish and trained falcons. Participate in archery, casting, and crafts for the kids. Explore new trends in recycling, environmental protection and check out energy-efficient hybrid vehicles. Come Discover WILD New Hampshire with us — connecting you to life outdoors!
Discover WILD New Hampshire Day is co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Watch for details at wildnh.com.
NH Farm to School/Preschool: Raising the Stakes!
Join us on May 20 at Canterbury Shaker Village for a day long farm to school/preschool conference! Conference sponsors include Farm Credit East, NH Department of Education, NH Department of Ag, Markets and Food, Cafe Services, HEAL , HNH Foundation and NOFA-NH. Registration information is below under News and Events.
What to Expect
Keynote Speaker: Helen Brody, cookbook author and Executive Director of NH Farms Network
Choose from 12 workshops throughout the day including:
- School Gardens
- Procuring and affording Local Foods
- School and Community Engagement for farm to school
- Successful Grant Writing
- Farmm to Preschool
- NH AG in the Class
- and more!
Enjoy a local foods lunch prepared by the Lakes Region Community College Culinary Arts Program at the Shaker Kitchen
Take a complimentary tour of Shaker Village or learn about cows from Brookford Farm or visit the Gardening Rocks! Mobile Farm and other interactive displays during the extended lunch time.
Resources and Displays to include:
- Bee Keeping
- Cornucopia Project
- Gardening Rocks! Mobile Farm
- NH Farm to School
- Stonewall Fram
- Upper Valley Farm to School
- Raffle Prizes
Celebrate Spring and Earth day in this morning-long festival featuring a 5K run/walk followed by a FREE Earth Day Fair! Bring the family as there will be booths and activities for all ages.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday, May 3rd. Sure, Earth Day is a couple of weeks before that but at Stonyfield every day is Earth Day!
Please join us for the Earth Day Fair that will be taking place throughout race day, starting at 10:00 AM. Last year over 25 booths were present with something for everyone!
The Fair will be located adjacent to the Stonyfield Visitors Center and will feature:
- Wholesome food products for the whole family to sample
- FREE Kids race and kids activities
- Demonstrations of products and approaches that are planet-friendly
- Live music! The Dusty Gray Band
- Meet Gurt the Stonyfield Cow
- Get your picture taken with the Fisher Cat and Monarch mascots
- Face painting, balloonist and FUN!
- AND MUCH MORE!
The Earth Day Fair is FREE and open to the public.
We will have 4 different tents in our Beer Garden featuring a variety of unique products from Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Traveler Beer Company, and the Just Beer Project.
Frank FM 106.3 will also be broadcasting live with fun and games!!
For more information visit http://stonyfield5k.com/
Want to take NASA’s Space Place and Climate Kids’ fun activities and projects with you even if you don’t have a computer? Want to share them with your kids, classroom, after-school program, or summer camp? Now it’s easier than ever. We’ve got print-ready PDFs of all of the activities and crafts.
Build a physics machine! If you build it carefully, this crazy contraption demonstrates one of the basic laws of nature. Learn all about it at NASA’s Space Place.
Make Sun s’mores! You won’t need a campfire for these. Find the directions and so much more at NASA’s Climate Kids.
WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL CLUB UP TO?
The NRRA School CLUB always loves to hear what its members are doing to recycle and help the environment so we can share it with our other members. There are so many different things being done, and you are our best source of information and what is working in your school. It can be a new program, a long-term project that’s been proven over time, a field trip, etc. Always feel free to contact me or submit something and you may see it in the next School News You Can Use!
1.603.736.4401 ext 17