Teacher Newsletter
- January 2021 -

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Environmental Education Awards for K-12 Students and Teachers

Know a K-12 teacher using environmental education to set an example for their students and inspire their learning? Encourage them to apply for our Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). ed by the 1990 National En Applications for both awards programs are due no later than February 19, 2021.

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes young people across the U.S. for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology.
PEYA recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects developed by young individuals (K-12), school groups, summer camps, and other youth organizations to promote environmental stewardship.
Up to two awards—one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12—will be selected from each of EPA’s 10 regions for national recognition. The winning projects will be highlighted on EPA’s website. All student projects must be sponsored by at least one adult over the age of 21. And, if the sponsor is not a teacher, the project must have a teacher as a co-sponsor. The application and eligibility information are available on EPA’s PEYA page.
Link for application:

Questions? Email:

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) recognizes outstanding K-12 grade educators who integrate environmental, place-based experiential learning into school curricula and school facility management across the country. The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with EPA, administers the PIAEE awards program.
Teacher awardees will receive a presidential plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further professional development in environmental education.
The teacher’s local education agency will also receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs.
Winners will be highlighted on EPA’s website. The application and eligibility information are available on EPA’s PIAEE page.
Link for application:

Questions? Email:


Professional Development


Are you a K-12 educator looking to build a better understanding of NGSS concepts? The California NGSS Statewide Implementation: Building Student Sensemaking Through Disciplinary Literacy is an online professional learning experience designed for K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders to deepen their understanding and implementation of teaching practices to advance student science understanding.
The professional learnings will be repeated so that participants may select the dates and times which work for them. There are three options from which to select. Participants will stay in the strand for which they registered for the entire session. Please be sure you can attend all the dates/times in your selection.

Date: January 28-29, 2021
Time: 8:00am-5:00pm
Register by: January 6, 2021

Date: February 22-25, 2021
Time: 4:30pm - 7:30pm
Register by: February 1, 2021

Date: March 16, 18, 23 & 25, 2021
Time: 8:30am - 11:30am
Register by: February 22, 2021
Participants register for one strand per event where they will experience grade-band specific instructional strategies for student sensemaking, engage in collaborative reflection, develop a classroom plan of action to implement with students, where student work will be generated and then collaboratively reviewed during  subsequent online follow-up meetings.

To allow for this, planning time for classroom implementation is embedded in each strand. It is recommended that districts register teams of four to six educators, including at least one administrator. Participants will stay with the strand which they registered for during the entire session.

For more details download the informational flyer or visit the event website.


Hello, Educators!

Ignite creativity with ready to integrate learning experiences.

Engage your students with

Social Emotional Learning
Project Based Learning, Work Based Learning, and much more!
Explore Thrively Learning Experiences

Thank you for all you’ve done to support the students entrusted to your care. We are honored to work with you.


Activities for Students

Upcoming IGNITE Events
Panel with University of Washington STEMinist
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
Meet college women studying a broad array of STEM subjects from computer science to engineering to environmental sciences!
Panel with Women in STEM
Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
10-11 am
Featuring speakers from Microsoft, T-Mobile, Google, and More!

Panel with Planet Labs
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021
Planet Labs designs, builds, and launches tiny satellites that we call “Doves”. More than a hundred Doves orbit the Earth right now: they make up the world’s largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites, capturing fresh imagery of the Earth’s surface every day.

IGNITE Teacher Get-Together!
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021
Join us for our third virtual get-together to get ready for spring virtual IGNITE events! You will meet fellow IGNITE teachers and IGNITE staff members, have a chance to ask questions about IGNITE virtual events, and learn tips and best practices for recruiting girls and making the most of each experience.

Microsoft STEM Workshop – Learn to Code with Microsoft Small Basic (Middle School)
5 spots available
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021
Research program small flyer.png

Inspiring Girls Expeditions is a tuition-FREE, 12-day wilderness science education program for 16- and 17-year-old high school girls*. All interested students are encouraged to apply, even (especially) if they don't feel like they fit the "typical" image of a scientist or outdoors person. The students we most want to connect with often believe they are not qualified enough for our program, but we know from years of experience that the support of a trusted adult (like a mentor or teacher) can make all the difference in a student finding the confidence to apply. 

The aim of this program is to provide each participant with a unique opportunity to move beyond their comfort zone through field-based science research projects, wilderness exploration, and nature-based art. We do not consider a student's grades in our selection process; we just want to connect with participants ready to explore their own curiosity, creativity, and courage. In the summer of 2021 (COVID permitting), supportive, experienced, and knowledgeable guides and scientists will lead participants in mountaineering in Alaska and Washington, kayaking and packrafting in Alaska, or rock climbing in Colorado. Please note that travel outside the USA is not required to participate in this program.

The deadline to start the application is January 22, 2021, so encourage students you know to APPLY TODAY!

You can help us spread the word by:

  • Personally connecting with potential applicants and supporting them in applying
  • Inviting us to present about Inspiring Girls Expeditions to your classroom or organization (not your typical presentation, but a virtual trip to beautiful, faraway adventures). Email us at
  • Forwarding this email to teachers or group leaders with personal connections to students
  • Posting the attached flier to virtual announcement boards or email lists.


If you know anyone struggling to get online, check out for Internet access assistance.   According to their website, the “No One Left Offline project is focused on providing financial assistance to individuals and families who struggle to pay their internet bills. NOLO is building a direct giving platform that will allow donors to directly cover people’s broadband bills and upgrades.”  The also offer hotspots, aka NOLO Zones -

Animations explain carbon concepts

A new series of OFRI-produced animations explain the connections between carbon and forests, and how we can harness forests’ carbon-sequestering superpowers to combat climate change.

The six-part “Carbon Bits” series consists of 30-second animations that use simple language to discuss concepts such as how photosynthesis workshow trees capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into wood, and what happens to carbon stored in trees after they’re turned into wood products.

The animations are part of a larger effort by OFRI to help Oregonians better understand the major role forests and wood products play in keeping carbon out of the atmosphere. The Institute recently released a science-based report authored by experts in carbon and forestry called Carbon in Oregon’s Managed Forests, as well as a companion summary report highlighting its key findings. Learn more about forests, carbon and climate change here.
New! Curated Playlists
Visit our new Playlists section from the top navigation!

Find and share curated video playlists. Currently available playlists address: AISL Projects (Advancing Informal STEM Learning)Identity and STEM LearningData Across the CurriculaInnovative projects at MSIs and HBCUsIntegrating CS and Computational Thinking in PreK-8, Science in the Elementary Grades, Broadening Participation in STEMMaker Spaces, and Citizen Science

View the featured short video to help you create and share your own playlist. If you would like to share your playlist with the community, send it to us. Have feedback? Be in touch.
Upcoming Themes of the Month
Theme: Addressing Climate Change in School and Community: Discussing, Learning, and Doing
Moderated by Brian Drayton from STEM for All Multiplex
Theme: Emerging Technologies for Teaching & Learning
Moderated by Jeremy Roschelle and the CIRCLS Resource Center
More details and dates for webinar panels will be coming soon!
Save the Dates! 2021 STEM for All Video Showcase
The 2021 STEM for All Video Showcase: COVID, Equity & Social Justice will be held May 11-18, 2021. We welcome all videos that address this theme or any of the following subthemes:
  • Projects & partnerships addressing broadening participation
  • Impacts of COVID on STEM teaching and learning
  • Design and implementation of STEM and CS programs
  • Research informing STEM and CS teaching and learning
  • Measuring impact of innovative programs
Register to submit a video presentation in this year’s Showcase starting on January 13! To see last year's showcase, visit the 2020 Showcase. We know that creating videos during COVID is a challenge and we are open to videos with alternate formats. More information on this to come!
NSF AISL Solicitation: Information and Upcoming Deadline
In preparation for the upcoming solicitation deadline for the National Science Foundation’s AISL (Advancing Informal STEM Learning) program, we have put together a curated playlist (see below) of videos created by projects funded by this program.

Interested in writing a proposal for the AISL program? Find important information and resources provided by CAISE and NSF on the CAISE website.

Join NSF Program Officers on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST for a discussion on the AISL 2020 solicitation followed by Q&A. Register with NSF today!
AISL Projects Playlist
Virtual coaching for afterschool educators in rural settings
Citizen Science for All
WZAM 3: STEM Matters
STEM Opportunities in Prison Settings (STEM-OPS)
Advancing Reach Through Telepresence Technology (ARTTT)
Hawk Talk: a Co-created Investigation Using a Wildlife Cam
Designing for Intergenerational Community Conservation
PEEP Family Science
Project TRUE - Teens Researching Urban Ecology
iSWOOP-Behind the Lens

Job Opportunities

Community Education Specialist 2 - Project Learning Tree (Tehama County)

County Location: Tehama County

Date Posted: December 9, 2020
Closing Date: January 6, 2021

The Northern California Project Learning Tree Community Education Specialist is responsible for supporting Project Learning Tree (PLT) in developing and coordinating professional development programs, resources, and collaborations in regions of Northern California.

PLT is designed to deliver active learning strategies where children and youth learn environmental education in practice. The overarching goal of PLT activities is to teach children how to think, not what to think. With this vision at the forefront over the past 40 years, PLT is uniquely positioned to share their expertise with this mind set. PLT aims to support educators in shifting their pedagogies to align with Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and in California specifically, to support incorporation of Environmental Education Principles and Concepts into the success of high-quality environmental teaching and learning. PLT clientele include both formal and non-formal educators as well as natural resource professionals who engage in science-based environmental education

Salary - Min $16.95/hr. to Mid $24.28/hr.

This position will close on January 6, 2021

To Apply:


Avatar for Green Guardians

Green Guardians

Chief Content Officer

$120k – $144k • 0.01% – 0.5%
Apply now

We are looking for a Chief Content Officer, who will lead our content development strategy and implementation. The kind of content we will create or manage include: (1) taxonomies, frameworks and recommended progress pathways towards environmental literacy; (2) databases on institutions, community-based organizations, students, parents, teachers, administrators, projects, lessons and articles; (3) instructional content including teacher guides, environmental literacy projects, and online courses; (4) newsletters, profiles and infographics; and (5) discussion forums and communities of practice.

The ideal candidate will deeply understand the system of support for education in California and beyond, and how to align high-quality, locally-focused, student-centered, instructional content and teacher professional learning to state standards and content frameworks. A teaching background—formal or nonformal—in science or history-social science is highly preferred. As is some exposure to the priorities of career technical education.

Other relevant experience could include work in some or all of the following areas: digital publishing, educational publishing, instructional design, standards alignment, personalized learning, project-based learning, environmental literacy development, curriculum mapping, assessment design, production and managing online forums and communities of practice. Experience building systems that support student engagement leading to civic action will be a big plus.

You will be accustomed to working in small, dynamic, and distributed team. We are a start-up with team members in three time zones and you will be able to work collaboratively across geographies and time zones. Your prior experience should demonstrate that you are able to work with deadlines to produce accurate, polished, published instructional and informational content that reaches broad K-12 audiences. We will also value experience setting strategy and managing teams to deliver solutions to school district and site leaders. You will have people management experience with a proven record of developing high performing direct reports and experience managing vendors, consultants, and subject matter experts.

Compensation will be in the range of $10,000-$12,000 per month (depending on your profile), with equity to vest over time based on performance. The job location will be in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Apply now

Coastal Camp is currently hiring a camp manager.

Coastal Camp will begin hiring educators in mid January.

Community Partnerships Manager

The Presidio Trust is seeking a Community Partnerships Manager to join the Visitor Engagement Department.  The Presidio of San Francisco, formerly a 1,491-acre Army post, is now a new kind of national park with a richly layered history; natural landscapes with wildlife and native plants; historic former military homes and buildings animated by 3,000 residents and 200 organizations; and some of the most iconic views of the San Francisco Bay. The park offers a welcoming mix of visitor experiences, including museums, art, archaeological sites, a panoramic network of trails, and diverse recreation opportunities. The Visitor Engagement Department provides welcoming and meaningful opportunities for all to enjoy their national park.

Applications received by January 4, 2020 will receive first consideration. We are planning to hold the first round of interviews beginning the week of January 18, 2021.  Please include a resume and cover letter that addresses: 1) why you are interested in the position, and 2) how your unique skills and experience align to the requirements of the job. Your cover letter is an important part of the initial screening process.

For more information and to apply, please visit:

Just For Fun


Huge Smiley Face On Oregon Hillside You’ve Got To See

                        Sheridan Willamina smiley face in Oregon
Imagine finding a huge smiley face on a hillside in Oregon? That’s exactly what happened. Check it out here.

REMINDER: Submit K-12 Art and Poetry by Jan. 31, 2021!

Calling all California teachers, students and parents- K-12 students are invited to submit artwork or poetry with a California coastal or marine theme to the annual Coastal Art & Poetry Contest.

For the first time ever, entries will be submitted online! We encourage you to enter this way if at all possible, but we will accept mailed entries if it presents a hardship. Also new this year—digital art is allowed as a medium. Find out all the details, download flyers, and get teacher resources at You can also access instructions and entry form in Spanish.

Enter online by midnight January 31, 2021

Winners in art and poetry will be selected in each of five grade-level categories (K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12) to receive a $100 gift certificate to an art supply store or a bookstore. Each winner’s teacher will receive a $50 gift certificate from Acorn Naturalists. All winning and honorably mentioned art and poetry will be part of a traveling exhibit, as conditions allow.

Ways to Attract Insects and Songbirds to Your Garden

Some ways to attract songbirds to your garden.  That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.


Part of the beauty of any landscape is the fascinating wildlife that lives in it. Wrens, cardinals, swallows, and more will fill your garden with their beautiful songs if you attract them with a few of their favorite native plants, and some water to splash around in. The best way to do that is by planting a diverse landscape.

When designing and planting beds and borders, think both horizontally and vertically and include a range of plants: Annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, and grasses. Also, figure out the songbirds favorite meals. For starters, try an assortment of seed- or nectar-producing plant species that are known to please songbird palates, including black-eyed Susan, coneflower, coreopsis, and salvia. Or fill bird feeders with sunflower seeds.

Include a Birdbath in your garden.

Remove non-native Plants in Favor of Nutritious Natives. The more natives you plant, the more insects you draw, and the more varieties of songbirds that will visit.

Include Trees and Shrubs in Your Wildlife Garden. Trees and shrubs provide shelter from storms and hiding places from predators. Plus, trees and shrubs supply a spot for birds to build a nest, which is helpful in attracting songbirds to the garden.

Feeders and birdhouses are easy ways to attract songbirds to the garden, but you must keep them in good shape.

Lastly, keep your feline friends indoors.

                             How to Prevent and Treat Tick Bites                                                    
Read the article here


Wane is the presence of bark or the lack of wood fiber along the edge of a piece of lumber.


A Russian beard token from 1705, carried to indicate that the owner had paid the beard tax imposed by Peter the Great. These coins are an archaeological rarity and are described as “priceless” by experts. There are only two known beard kopeks remaining.

Did you know Peter the Great, the infamous Tsar of Russia, imposed a beard tax in 1698?

The tsar had spent much of 1697 and 1698 traveling incognito around Europe. The journey's goal was to learn the secret to the continent's successes.

During his journey, Peter noted that most of the Western Europeans he met were beardless.

As soon as he got home, he declared that all the men in Russia had to lose their beards—a massively unpopular policy.

Eventually, his stance softened. Figuring he could make money for the state while still allowing people to opt to keep their beards, and he imposed a beard tax.

Russians who refused to pay the beard tax were publicly shaved by the police.

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