5 Initiatives

Sustainable Schools

Supplemental environmental ed curriculum for K-12 classrooms on tough-to-teach subjects — at no cost to teachers. We’re offering self-guided online lessons, teacher trainings, a youth empowerment program, and community collaborations supporting students.

Free online lesson library

4,500 Students reached with environmental education each year. Learn about our middle and high school programs.

97 “Green Classrooms” certified in the 2018-19 school year. Learn about our elementary school programs.

40 School partners in the 2018-19 school year. Support this effort and donate today.

This is an incredibly challenging time for teachers, students, and families. We remain committed to providing education to K-12 students in Whatcom County about protecting the natural world and the communities of people who reside here. To learn more about how we can help supplement your curriculum and help students understand the environmental, social, and economic issues they will encounter in our ever-changing world—starting at a local, place-based level—please contact us at Schools@re-sources.org

Contact an education specialist

What we’re offering teachers and students in 2020-21

Like most of you, we are shifting and adjusting to a virtual learning environment. Our education specialists are redesigning our classroom programs so that students can engage in synchronous, asynchronous and screen-free learning that will leave them with a better understanding of climate change impacts in Whatcom County and a sense of empowerment to make a difference. In the meantime, you can access for free the online learning library we created for people of all ages.

Empowering youth to create change: Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!)

YEP! is an opportunity for 9th-12th graders to get experience using their voice to enact change. In this 10-12 week, student-led program, RE Sources provides about 15 students with leadership opportunities, communication tools, confidence-building skills, and a safe space for participants. Students develop a final local action project on an environmental issue of their choosing. This year’s theme: Environmental Justice. Learn more.

Teacher Professional Development, including climate science teaching tools

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.

Whatcom Coalition for Environmental Education

WCEE is a collaborative group, working together to re-imagine possibilities for equitable education and finding a way to meet emergent social, emotional and education needs of children and youth across Whatcom County during a tumultuous and uncertain time. In partnership with schools and embodying the values of courage, innovation, and kindness, our aim is to ensure that the most vulnerable students and families are supported through rich and diverse learning opportunities with competent and caring adults in safe outdoor environments. Sustainable Schools is working in collaboration with Blaine and Bellingham Public Schools to ensure this goal is achieved.

Our philosophy: Place-based learning, global issues

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 the lens of global and local climate science, social justice, our educators are in the process of creating online curriculum focusing 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 from an asset based approach and 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. 

Climate justice: Students will learn about the ways climate change affects communities and the connections between the treatment of the environment and the oppression of people with the least power, including the poor, immigrants, women, and BIPOC communities. Environmental justice is the theme for the high school program Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!) in the fall of 2020.

Teaching teachers

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.

We offer teachers…

  • 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.
Frequently Asked Questions

Do you come into the classroom and do the actual teaching?

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.

How much do the workshops cost?

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.

Can your educators come speak to our club, at our event, or help with a project?

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.

I’m not a teacher. How can I help?

You can support this program in a variety of ways by volunteering with us, giving a gift, or helping to spread the word. Contact us at Schools@re-sources.org for more info.

Current Initiatives

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Completed Initiatives