Earth Hour – the greatest show ‘for’ the Planet….

The final countdown to Earth Hour 2012 – Saturday 31st March at 8.30pm – has begun.

Hours from now, hundreds of millions of people will switch off their lights for 60 minutes, an observance that is touted as the world’s biggest annual environmental event.

For full blog – see Learn From Nature blog


Diversity in the Outdoors

From Children and Nature

The good news about diversity in the outdoors is that there already a number of outstanding groups and organizations doing a lot of great work to get everyone outside whether they be African American, Hispanic, Asian, underserved, military youth, veterans, etc. All of us though, need to do a better job telling the story and more people need to get involved… outside of course.

Many of these organizations, including the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) program that I mentioned in the last blog have an opportunity for you to get involved as a volunteer, a donor, a leader, or just to help spread the word. Some of these organizations are listed below:

    • Through the Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors, you have your choice of getting involved in Outings, Inner City Outings, Building Bridges to the Outdoors, the Military Family and Veterans Initiative, or National Outings. One of many great story about the impact of outings in general is the story of one of the Sierra Club’s many great volunteers, Liz Wheelan.
    • Outdoor Outreach, discussed in our first blog is doing great work in San Diego and will be piloting a program in 2012 focused on developing outdoor leadership skills amongst a targeted audience of military youth.
    • Big City Mountaineers, who train mentors on outdoor skills and partner them with youth on week long outings into the mountains. You can also get involved through their Summit for Someone program and are launching a pilot project this year bringing the military community in to the fold through training veterans to lead youth, as well as a 9/11/12 Summit for Someone focused on youth who may have lost a parent at war.
    • One of the coolest websites on the internet, and from what I’ve heard and experienced, one of the most genuine organizations out there:
    • Outward Bound, and more specifically, Voyageur Outward Bound School, who among other initiatives, have a great partnership with Dunwoody Technical School in the Twin Cities that ensures a very diverse population gets to experience the joy of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
  • And for a great novel that tells a compelling story about the military and African American experience in the outdoors from the last century, Shelton Johnson‘s Gloryland, is one of the best.

This list is far from complete and I know there are many other fantastic athletes that I have not had time to discuss. We have also not discussed issues of accessibility in the outdoors, but that will be coming. I hope in the comments section we can continue to identify other athletes and organizations and strategies who are making a difference every day in getting America, all of America, outside.

Finally, we must remember to be intentional in our efforts. In many conversations with partners and potential partners for my work with military families and veterans, I often here people say, “But our programs are not exclusive, veterans are welcome.” And so they are, and so are men and women of other races and colors, but unless the invitation is deliberate, the message may not get across.

The trick is making sure the invitation is not condescending and speaks to the community you, we, are hoping to welcome and that we are willing to meet the new group half way. We cannot continue to expect new participants in the outdoors to only do it our way. It has to be a two way street (or path or portage) where both groups have something to learn from one another.
I hope to see you out on the trail!

Source :

“21 Jump Street” Is Right: Environmentalists Are Now the Cool Kids in High School!

Johnny Depp left the show after season four an...

Johnny Depp left the show after season four and is used on the fifth season DVD cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Children and Nature 

In the new movie 21 Jump Street, two young cops named Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are sent back to high school as undercover police officers. The pair are shocked to find that in the few years they’ve been away, the social strata have been seismically restructured: Biking to school, recycling and otherwise showing concern for the environment makes you a Cool Kid.

To find out whether this depiction of the new cool is accurate, Pop Omnivore spoke with National Geographic Emerging Explorer Juan Martinez. As a national spokesman for the importance of getting youth—especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds—into the outdoors, he visits a lot of high schools. And he himself is a former cool kid turned environmentalist: “I love nature like I love my ‘hood.”

Has there been a change in the way teenagers think about environmentalism?

Oh, absolutely. The way I got involved, it was an ultimatum. When I was in high school at Dorsey High [in South Central L.A.] back in 1999 I got put in detention and they gave me a choice: Stay in detention for the rest of the year or else you go to this thing called Eco Club.

Eco Club was where the dorks, the geeks, and the nerds hung out. I didn’t want to associate myself with those kids. I was a football player. I was trying to be this [gangsta] kid that lived in the ghetto.

I didn’t talk to anybody in that club for almost the full semester. I just went in there and did my work. I had these little jalapeño plants that I grew—that’s the reason I kept going back. And that eventually turned out to be the catalyst that changed my life through the opportunities the club offered me including helping me win a scholarship to attend the Teton Science Schools in Wyoming.

For the last few years I have been working with the Eco Clubs at both Dorsey and [nearby] Crenshaw High School. We’ve created these programs with the Sierra Club and are taking students out on trips, on hikes.

Gradually between 2007 and 2010 the Eco Club became the largest club at Crenshaw. We had kids walking around with Sierra Club backpacks. Everyone wanted to be a part of the Eco Club. One time we had to take three buses because 150 kids wanted to go on a camping trip.

Yeah, it’s changed.

What do you think is the reason for this shift?

I think it’s due to the attitude of this generation, and to technology and how that opens up new information gateways. Not knowing something is no longer acceptable. Everybody is on Facebook, Twitter, on blogs. Social media has changed what this generation talks about.

There’s this whole attitude that “I can do this.” “That I am empowered to make positive change” is something that our generation really feels.

Are you seeing this change reflected in the community?

Some of the young are considering careers and employment in places that they wouldn’t have before, like with the National Park Service, with the Department of the Interior. People are becoming empowered to discuss the issues that matter to them and to their community. That’s some of the strongest change that we’ve seen.

Our councilwoman’s office here in South Central now has a solar panel, and the farmers’ market is happening right now. These were not things that were happening around here five or ten years ago. And last Monday out at Carson High School (in South L.A.) they had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a windmill that they just raised and started to operate.

So some of the changes are exciting. It’s still a challenge. You’re not going to get everybody, but it’s starting to become more of a way of life rather than an alternative way of thinking. Environmentalism and conservationism was always associated with this thing that hippies did, and you had to wear Birkenstocks and have a tie-dyed shirt or something and celebrate Earth Day. But the reality is that if you want to survive in today’s economy—if you want to be part of the global community—you have to be a part of this movement. -Rhett Register

Earth Hour is only a week away – sign up now!

Earth Hour 2009 participants

Earth Hour 2009 participants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make a difference : Earth Hour sign up

At 8.30pm local time on Saturday 31 March, Earth Hour 2012 will see hundreds of millions of people around the world cross borders of race, religion, culture, geography and society to unite in a single moment of contemplation for the planet and celebration of their year-round commitment to protect it.

Now in its sixth year, the annual lights out event has grown from a single-city initiative in 2007 to become the world’s largest display of environmental action, with citizens of 135 countries and territories across every continent coming together for Earth Hour 2011 indicating a growing global movement of positive change in environmental attitudes.

WHAT: Earth Hour 2012

WHEN: Saturday 31 March at 8.30pm in your local time zone

WHERE: Across the globe WHY: To celebrate your commitment to the planet with the people of the world

HOW: Switch off your lights, register your support and get more details at

The 100-day countdown to Earth Hour 2012 has now begun, the iconic ‘lights out’ event that has seen some of the world’s most recognized landmarks, including the Forbidden City, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Golden Gate Bridge, Table Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sydney Opera House switch off in a global celebration of the one thing that unites us all – the planet.

Compiled by Henricus Peters, Learn From Nature

World Water Day 2012

World Water Day: Learning about Your Water Footprint

Sample image title

It’s World Water Day (22nd)! The theme of this year’s World Water Day observations is Water and Food Security. What’s the link? As UN Water says on the World Water Day website,

“There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres (.5 to 1 gallon) of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat…”

At the recent 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, Project WET organized a session around water footprinting, including information about “virtual water“–the water that is used to produce the food we eat and manufacture the products we need. Raising awareness about virtual water and water footprints was identified as a solution for addressing water issues, and Project WET has made a commitment to continue to reach people around the world with relevant water education.

Your Water Footprint
At the “Your Water Footprint” session at the 6th World Water Forum, participants traced their footprints as part of learning about how to teach the concept of water footprinting.

In that spirit, Project WET has materials available for kids to learn about virtual water and water footprints. On World Water Day, make your own commitment to learning about your water footprint–and teaching others. Visit the “We all use water” lesson at and then share it with friends, family and colleagues.

It’s a great way to spend World Water Day!

Kids and the Environment : Pioneering College Explore Nature-Deficit in Children

From Children and Nature Network & Learn From Nature | “My friends and I played outside all the time. It is hard to believe that children do not go outside to play every day like my friends and I used to do”…

For years, through its graduate-level Environment Based Learning (EBL) curriculum, Mary Baldwin College has endorsed the concept of returning to nature to engage youngsters who have been raised in a wired world. Psychology students are also exploring the so-called “nature deficit disorder,” and recently attended a lecture by the bestselling author who coined the term.

“My friends and I played outside all the time. It is hard to believe that children do not go outside to play every day like my friends and I used to do,” said Emily McElveen, a sophomore from Staunton.

photo description here

McElveen — a sociology major who hopes to teach first grade — and more than 25 classmates in Child Psychology 210 traveled to Charlottesville last week to hear Richard Louv, who wrote the national bestseller, Last Child in the Woods, and more recently,The Nature Principle.

“The talk was very eye-opening. It truly made me realize how disconnected from nature children are in today’s society,” McElveen said. “Louv kept the audience laughing with his humor throughout the presentation.”

Taught by Assistant Professor of Psychology Heather Macalister, the child psych class examines cognitive, socio-emotional, language, and gender development from infancy through late childhood from different theoretical perspectives. Students consider environmental and biological influences on children’s behavior and discuss implications for parents, teachers, and others who work with children.

McElveen recommends the child psychology class to anyone interested in teaching or one day becoming a parent. Assigned reading in the class includes In Defense of Childhood, which echoes many of the sentiments in Louv’s work. McElveen said the book’s author, Chris Mercogliano, makes a compelling argument that children are losing the ability to simply “be kids.”

“[Children] used to be able to express themselves and play outside every day,” McElveen said. “Now, kids would rather sit inside their house watching television, which does not stimulate imagination. Children are losing their childhood and their creativity.”

According to Louise Freeman, chair of the psychology department at MBC, being able to dive deeper into one aspect of child psychology highlights advantages of studying developmental psychology at MBC .

“Unlike a lot of places where you would try to cover conception to death in a single lifespan development course, we focus on three distinct phases of development: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood,” Freeman said.” This allows each phase to be examined in much more depth, so that students learn not only the classical theories of people like Piaget and Erikson but more modern concepts like Louv’s ‘nature-deficit disorder.’ It is a real privilege to be able to offer these opportunities to our students.”

After the Louv lecture, students gathered at Freeman’s house to share personal stories about their own childhoods and discuss technological influence on society and, McElveen added, “what our future might be like if we keep relying on technology to do everything for us in life.”

According to Freeman, at several times during his presentation, Louv spoke highly of the work performed by Mary Baldwin Associate Professor of Education Tamra Willis, director of the EBL program. Willis helped organize the sold-out Louv discussion at the Paramount Theater.

One of the first programs of its kind in the country, EBL at Mary Baldwin teaches educators how to integrate an inquiry-based outdoor education model into their curricula and how to help their students develop critical thinking skills, become better problem solvers, and gain an appreciation for their surroundings.

“We didn’t know any different,” McElveen said. “When it snowed, all of the kids came out to play in the church parking lot at the end of the neighborhood. We would build things with sticks or just play with a ball. We could always find something fun to do outside. “

How to create resilient agriculture

Nature (journal)

Nature (journal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the UN Conference on Sustainable Development comes into sight, the very real challenge of balancing the needs of the world’s food need with the environment rears its head… The Environmental News Network reports. Comments below or at Learn From Nature 

Read the full post – read

Source :

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION – Invitation to contribute to 100th milestone edition

NAEEUK – the National Association for Environmental Education UK – invites individuals and partners, who currently run inspired projects, to send short reports/case studies/ pictures of children/adults in action for its special edition.


EE100 will focus on ‘the state of environmental education’ /’education for sustainability’ in the places NAEE covers – England, Scotland, plus supporters and partners in China, United States, Pakistan, New Zealand. We aim to cover including all sectors – the Early Years/Foundation Stage, Primary, Secondary, Higher Education, Further Education, Continuing Education, as well as community and youth groups.

This is a great opportunity to spread the message and tell others what you are doing; perhaps start a discussion.

Deadline is 16 April. Groups who wish to advertise, please contact us for details.

Find and follow NAEE UK

twitter :!/NAEE_UK

facebook :

web :


Managing editor, Henricus Peters

Sustainable buildings? Schools need to show more…

London ....

London .... (Photo credit: D3.)

Energy ‘hub’ school, London

Ashmount Primary and Bowlers Nursery are part of a £13m Crouch Hill Park development, which is transforming unkempt land in north London. The site will absorb more carbon dioxide than it produces, and will feed energy to nearby homes. The artist’s impression above shows cold and warm airflow into and out of the building.

Read other examples of green design – click here… Then comment below or at NAEEUK on facebook