The Green Education Foundation (GEF), an online nonprofit organization all about "creating a sustainable future through education," is using Earth Week (April 18 – April 22) to get the "green" out to classrooms.
Their website features a Top 10 Earth Day 2011 Projects list, which offers suggestions and guidance on how classrooms and schools can kick start sustainability projects. In addition, they have set up a Sustainability Education Clearinghouse, a free online tool where teachers can upload and share sustainability-focused lessons with one another.
Clearinghouse projects include lessons that challenge youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions, like: "Why Recycle Paper?" and "Build a Pizza Box Solar Oven."
Here's a select five projects from the Top 10 Earth Day 2011 Projects list:
- Plant a Garden- straight forward, but not necessarily an easy task. GEF has a Green Thumb Challenge which lays out gardening advice geared towards kids in a school setting- how to use a garden as a teaching tool. It includes garden design templates, kid friendly plants and schools can compete to win a $5,000 grant.
- Empty the Parking Lot- a project geared toward making the community take note. "Schools can host an Empty the Parking Lot Campaign to promote low fuel methods of transportation such as carpooling, walking or biking in an effort to help combat environmental concerns such as air pollution, fossil fuel consumption and climate change, " according to the GEF website.
- Eliminate Junk Mail- Kids can learn how to reduce the amount of junk mail that arrives at their house everyday by talking with their parents about cancelling catalogues, getting on anti-junk mail lists, how to use e-bills and even get news online! GEF has more information at Junk Mail Attack.
- Start a Class, School and/or Home - If your school started a garden, this one's a no-brainer! Students can learn a lot about the life of soil and bio-cycles and how plants grow in a hands-on fashion. It's just a matter of adding an extra compost waste basket to the trash and recycling.
- Set up a Green Cleaning Program- The kids can become detergent detectives researching the harmful effects of chemical compounds and learning how to replace them with safe cleaning supplies at school and around home.