If I asked you to describe what “environmental education” looks like, what image would first spring to mind? Perhaps it’s a camp group walking in the woods, observing and drawing birds. Maybe it’s a group of elementary students out on Narragansett Bay, taking water samples. Or maybe it’s a high school class, learning about the effects of pollutants on genetic mutations. All of these certainly qualify as environmental education. But a whole bunch more would too.
author page: Jeanine Silversmith
Jeanine is a self-described tree hugging, science and math geek whose love of nature, coupled with her absolute certainty that people, especially children, are happier, healthier, and wiser when they regularly spend time in nature, led her to establish Rhode Island Families in Nature. Jeanine also works for the RI Environmental Education Association, supporting formal and informal teachers as they create "place-based" curriculum. She loves to hike, run, garden, bake, and go camping, especially when accompanied by her husband, Ian, her daughter, Sierra, and her son, Devin. They live in Wakefield.
Whether it’s watching football, playing a game, reading special books, or expressing our gratitude in some special way, almost every family has a beloved Thanksgiving tradition that extends beyond the festive meal that is front and center on this American holiday.
My own custom developed in early adulthood, when the political arguments and caloric intake reached epic proportions one Thanksgiving and I simply couldn’t stand to be inside another minute. Let’s face it: holidays are great, but they can certainly be intense. At least in my family!
Rhode Island is one of the first states to complete an Environmental Literacy Plan. And now, the New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA), in partnership with the six state professional Environmental Education (EE) associations in New England, will award at least nineteen grants up to $5,000 each to eligible groups such as non-profits, EE organizations, schools, and local or state agencies. Made possible by a $150,000 grant from the U.S. EPA Regional Environmental Education Sub-Grants program, the awards will support projects that increase environmental education capacity or advance education by helping implement state environmental education plans. Projects may include professional development, student projects, or statewide capacity building for delivering environmental education. All proposals must be received by Friday, August 31, 2012. To learn more, please visit the RI Environmental Education Association website.
Run – don’t walk! – to the new exhibit at the Roger Williams Park Zoo! I went there earlier this month with my two kids and we all loved it.
Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard opened in early June. It’s not your typical zoo exhibit, in that there are no animals. Except if you count the scores of little humans acting just like little humans are supposed to act. It’s a nature play and exploration area that appeals to families of all kinds of ages and abilities.
I’m going to take a wild guess here and bet that many of you don’t know that today, Friday, June 29, is International Mud Day.
No, seriously – it is!
In my humble opinion, it’s a genius idea. I mean, what better way to celebrate and experience the great outdoors than to get really dirty? Like, clothes-plastered-to-your-body, hair-caked-with-mud dirty. If you can let go of the clean-up anxiety that I admit is furiously coursing through this type-A mama’s blood, your kids will thank you for it. I promise! I’m reminded of my participation in the infamous mud slide incident on the “beach” (i.e. grassy field) at University of Delaware in spring of 1992… Boy, that was a LOT of fun!
This year’s Rhode Island Great Outdoors Pursuit begins May 20 at Lincoln Woods State Park and registration is now open! The Great Outdoors Pursuit is a wonderful program – a game, really – designed to help you and your family enjoy everything our state parks have to offer. And this year, there are new activities, […]
Earth Day is just around the corner and in my house, the excitement almost reaches that of the December holiday season. April 22 marks the 42nd anniversary of the big day and whether or not you consider yourself a Greenie, a Once-ler, or more likely something in between, Earth Day is a wonderful time to engage your family in healthy, fun, and meaningful activities.
My favorite ways to celebrate Earth Day:
Sunday morning, 6:58am. Not my idea of sleeping in, especially after spending half the night with my son whose cough reminds me of the call of a sea lion and whose temperature reminds me of a toaster oven. But what was I really expecting anyway? My daughter has decided to wake me up by crawling all over me, seemingly unaware of the fact that her knees and feet are kicking me in the gut and in the head.
Did I mention that it’s 12 degrees outside?!
It’s a windy but sunny day in early fall, and my son and I slowly approach the gigantic spider web climbing net at Tuckertown Park in South Kingstown. My three year old is the tentative sort, and the conversation goes something like this:
“Come on, Devin. Let’s climb the spider web!”
“No, no, Mommy. I too little.”
“Nah, you’re not too little. You can do it.”
“I too scared, Mommy.”
“What are you scared of?”
“I scared I gonna fall.”
Who hasn’t noticed that every kid loves an empty box, often more so than the item that came in it? In my house, my kids are pretty much yanking the box out of my hands before I’ve had a chance to open it and planning some kind of reconstructive surgery to transform it into a castle, a dog house, a car, a dragon – whatever they can imagine.