Environmental Literacy and Resource Conservation

This week, we are excited to highlight classroom lessons, experiential learning programs, and other resources surrounding the topic of land resource conservation. Our goal is to share tools that will improve student’s understanding of resource conservation and encourage environmental literacy. 

This week, we are excited to highlight classroom lessons, experiential learning programs, and other resources surrounding the topic of land resource conservation. Our goal is to share tools that will improve student’s understanding of resource conservation and encourage environmental literacy. 

Conservation can be defined as “the care and protection of the earth so it can persist for future generations through using natural resources responsibly” (Source: Educators 4 Social Change). It’s important to teach students about resource conservation because:

  • They develop a greater appreciation for the natural resources used in their daily lives 
  • They feel more connected to nature and see themselves as having a role in its future 
  • They learn how to protect the land they live on and its natural resources 

Learn more and see related lessons, projects, and additional resources on our blog!

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Relevant Links


Save the Bay | Bay Discovery 

The Bay Discovery program brings students to the shoreline to gain a deeper understanding of San Francisco Bay, local wetlands, and our rich relationship to them. Save The Bay’s field staff lead students in educational activities that teach about the history and ecology of wetlands, as well as restoration activities that exhibit the positive impact we can have on our environment. After learning about threats such as climate change, pollution, and invasive species, participants engage in activities to restore the shoreline and improve habitat for a healthier, more sustainable San Francisco Bay for now and generations to come. 

CA Department of Fish and Wildlife | Trout in the Classroom 

Through a classroom experience of hatching fish eggs and coordinated activities, students experience first-hand the value of aquatic environments, the balance that must be met to maintain and preserve California’s fisheries and aquatic habitats, and how their personal actions affect these valuable resources. Instructors and their students set up an aquarium in the classroom, receive fish eggs under a special CDFW permit, and observe the fish as they hatch and develop. 

Farm Discovery at Live Earth | Farm Field Trips 

Through sustainable farming and hands-on nutrition education, Farm Discovery field trip participants learn how caring for themselves can also support healthy ecosystems, economies, and communities.   Farm Discovery field trips (conducted throughout the school year) expand student understanding of environmental issues, farming, and nutrition through experiential activities on a working organic produce farm.   

Human Impact on the Elkhorn Slough and its Watershed 

The multiple piece lesson focuses on observing human impacts on the Elkhorn Slough and its watershed and then applying that information to management questions. 

Living with the Land: An Environmental Study through Ohlone Worldview 

Living with the Land allows students to explore human relationships with the natural world from the perspective of Ohlone indigenous knowledge and contrasting western science approaches. By observing the wetland’s past and present, students learn about what wetlands provide and how humans impact this habitat.   

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History | Nature Rangers 

Students practice being naturalists by making observations and comparing natural communities and different ecosystems as they go on a 2-mile hike through Pogonip Open Space Preserve. Thinking about nature as a system, physically connecting these ecosystems by walking through them and collecting data to compare them, help students better understand the environment and begin to realize they too are part of natural systems. 

CA State Parks | PORTS On-Demand 

Programs span across a variety of topics ranging from marine conservation to desert habitats, giant Sequoias to mysteries of the deep sea, and the snowy caps of the Northern Sierra to the sunny shores of Southern California. In addition to exploring natural resources and science, PORTS offers the opportunity to connect with our cultural and historic resources as well including restored indigenous heritage sites and preserved Gold Rush communities among countless others. 

NatureBridge | School & Group Environmental Science in Yosemite National Park 

Students spend their days immersed in nature, living and learning alongside their peers. Led in small groups by experienced educators, students engage in scientific principles firsthand, explore ecological concepts, collaborate with their classmates, and apply their learnings in real-time, all while discovering the joy of the outdoors.   

Professional Development Programs 

Environmental Educator Certification Program 

California’s Environmental Educator Certification Program (EECP) draws together stewards and educators of the environment into a structured and effective initiative. Certification is a public declaration that a certain individual meets a stringent level of requirements and has a specific set of skills. The EECP enhances the legitimacy of the EE profession by building a uniform foundation in effectively teaching about the environment. Additionally, through participation in the certification program, educators increase their knowledge and skills, expand their professional network, enhance their resumes, and make important connections across the state. 

Environteers.org and Environteers Weekly Update 

The Environteers.org website and Weekly Update feature and promote all 102 environmental entities in Santa Cruz County. They both publicize environmental education activities and volunteer opportunities with the mission of making it easy to keep informed and in action protecting and restoring our environment. Environteers.org provides the most comprehensive resources for environmental information and action in Santa Cruz County. 

Applicable Lesson Plans  

News and Events

Urban Nature-Based Early Childhood Education
Aug. 02-23, 2021 Urban Ecology Center

This course will scaffold experiences that show you how to accomplish early childhood learning goals through nature-based experiences and outdoor exploration.

Intro to Electric Vehicle Lessons for Schools: Southern California
Aug. 11, 2021 Ecorise

This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for teachers to experience lessons related to their scope and sequence and explore the curriculum and resource platform.

Communicating Climate Change
Aug 14-15, 2021 Genspace NYC

Gain skills to connect with people from all walks of life about your science and climate change in a compelling and meaningful way.

These 10 States Are Leading Solar Energy Installation in 2021
Jul. 21, 2021 EcoWatch

Solar energy has been among the fastest-growing sources of power generation in the U.S. in recent years, catapulting from 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of generation in 2010 to over 90.1 billion kWh in 2020…

Scientists understood physics of climate change in the 1800s – thanks to a woman named Eunice Foote
Jul. 22, 2021 The Conversation

Long before the current political divide over climate change, and even before the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), an American scientist named Eunice Foote documented the underlying cause of today’s climate change crisis.

Catching fire: AI is helping scarce firefighters better predict blazes
Jul. 22, 2021 Thomson Reuters Foundation News

With climate change driving worsening U.S. wildfires, machine learning and statistical models let firefighters map out ahead of time how and where blazes might spread.

Global restoration now has an online meeting point
Jul. 23, 2021 Mongabay

Restor is a map-based, open-source platform created so that people can better plan, manage and monitor restoration projects. The locations of more than 50,000 restoration and conservation initiatives are now registered on the platform.

Is Climate Change Reshaping The Future of International Diplomacy?
Jul. 27, 2021 Earth.org

Could the environmental crisis be one of such massive proportions that it transcends political squabbles, and even become a tool for international peacebuilding?

Why climate change education needs more empathy
Jul. 28, 2021 OUPblog

As citizens of this planet, we remain at an impasse when it comes to drastically changing the course of our environmental futures. At the heart of this impasse are climate change and the future of human and more-than-human survival.

Honeybees are transforming the lives of mangrove farmers in Viet Nam – here’s how
Jul. 29, 2021 World Economic Forum

Climate change is forcing farmers to adapt and find sustainable farming techniques. To close employment gaps, local farmers have been training as beekeepers since 2017. The project aims to protect at least 129,000 people through mangrove regeneration by 2022.

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