We believe in helping students understand the ecological, social, and economic issues they will encounter in our ever-changing world, starting at a local level. Our Sustainable Schools team offers students hands-on tools–such as practical ways to conserve water and energy–that also catalyze critical thinking and creative problem solving.
Through both in-class and outdoor education opportunities, our educators work with students to become more active community members and more engaged citizens of the world. Kindergarteners to high school seniors will learn age-appropriate lessons on complex societal and ecological problems like overconsumption and waste, plastic pollution, water contamination, natural resource depletion, and climate change. We approach these big issues in a way that honors kids’ right to know, supports them in facing difficult truths, and helps them develop the tools to respond. These topics are hard to teach well — that’s why we’re here.
Waste Prevention: Students will learn about what it means to throw something “away”. Where does it go? And how can we reduce that amount? Older students’ learning will focus on how consumerism plays a role in the health of our planet. Younger students will learn waste prevention primarily through stories. All age groups will get the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities.
Water Conservation: Students will learn how and why our water supply is limited, and how to be careful with our potable water. After a review, or introduction to the Water Cycle, students in upper elementary will learn about seasonal water usage and flows, while K-2 will learn about the basics of Whatcom County’s water. All students will have the opportunity to take action to help preserve and protect this valuable resource.
Energy Efficiency & Climate Change: Students will learn about the different sources of energy, renewable versus nonrenewable, and why it is important to conserve energy. In the lower elementary grade levels, the main focus will be on ways students can help save energy and reduce energy consumption. In the upper elementary classrooms, concepts related to global warming and how it is affected by our energy usage will be introduced and discussed.
We approach these hard-to-teach topics with comprehensive curriculum that breaks down complex issues into bite-size pieces. Our curriculum is transdisciplinary, appropriate for any subject — from social studies to health to science — and supports Washington state standards. We focus on interactive and action-based instruction, providing students opportunities to integrate and apply their learning and get outside whenever possible.
We also work with teachers to develop the confidence and tools to successfully teach difficult topics like climate science. With access to a broad array of teaching tools and curriculum developed by a partnership between the University of Washington, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and educators statewide, we help teachers get access to the most up-to-date techniques and resources to help them be successful.
- Interactive and comprehensive learning about complex local environmental and social issues that are hard to teach,
- In-class workshops and action projects led by an Education Specialist,
- The option of stand-alone workshops or a more in-depth series,
- Alignment with Next Generation Science Standards,
- Support for students to develop resiliency, feel empowered, and focus on solutions,
- Place-based curriculum and action projects,
- Flexibility of length of workshops to fit class schedule,
- No bill — the program is 100% free,
- Curriculum, tools, and resources teachers can use in the classroom,
- Training opportunities for professional development.
Yes! Our experienced educators come to your classroom to lead the workshops of your choosing. Teachers just need to be present and responsible for classroom behavior management.
Nothing. Our work is funded by foundations, community partners, and generous donors so we can offer support to teachers and valuable opportunities to students for FREE.
Yes. We are happy to provide education or assistance on a project if we are able, or we can connect you with other contacts and resources in the community.