Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Contemporary Environmental Issues and New Iowa Science Standards: Transforming Conservation Outreach

February 4-5, 2016
Springbrook Conservation Education Center
2473 160th Road
Guthrie Center, IA 50115

Join us and build your local network to link science education to scientists and science-based conservation practices happening all around Iowa. Naturalists and environmental educators, resource conservation professionals, Area Education Agency (AEA) Science Consultants, and teachers will all play key roles in the network, and each person will contribute as well as learn about projects and educational opportunities in their area.

The workshop will use wildlife as the unifying theme to connect the newly adopted Iowa Core Science Standards and environmental and conservation education. Naturalists will see exactly where their programs fit into the core. Teachers will receive curriculum support from professionals.

Who should come: Formal and non-formal educators, plus conservation professionals are encouraged to attend. Regional AEA Science Consultants and conservation professionals will be at the workshop to build local relationships with formal and non-formal educators to improve the quality of education for students.

Keynotes include: Rich Leopold, Iowa Wildlife Federation and Stephanie Shepherd, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Program, and more.

Why should I come? Here is a participant quote from the 2015 Workshop that says it all, “I like the single topic focus. PLEASE do this again and I will drive anywhere!”

Registration Costs? Grant funding and fundraising are in the works to lower registration costs for this two-day workshop. A limited number of scholarships are available.

Watch for details at www.iowaee.org.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Online Professional Development for PLT GreenSchools

PLT’s GreenSchools program inspires students to improve the environment at their school, home, and in their community. This nationwide service-learning program provides training and resources for teachers and students to reduce their school’s environmental impact, improve health, and save money. Give your students the opportunity to apply their STEM skills to make a difference in their world!

In this online workshop, you will:
  • Get an introduction to PLT’s GreenSchools program.
  • Learn how to effectively engage your students in conducting each of the five investigations (Energy, School Site, Waste and Recycling, Water, and Environmental Quality) in your own educational setting.
  • Find out how to obtain equipment and collect data.
  • Participate in interactive learning experiences that will enable you to facilitate a green schools program at your school and get the support of school administrators, staff, parents, and community members.
  • Engage in planning exercises to help you be successful in implementing the program.
  • Discover ways to empower your students to design and lead an action project.
  • See video demonstrations of GreenSchools students and educators in action.
  • Understand the benefits of PLT GreenSchools – for students and your school.
  • Get tips on how to measure your students’ impact and celebrate successes

PLT’s GreenSchools online course costs $25 and takes approximately 6 hours to complete. Once enrolled, you will have 180 days to complete the course. To access the course, go to www.plt.org/onlinePD-GreenSchools.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Iowa State-Fish Art Contest

Contest Rules & Guidelines
2016 Entry Form
The Iowa DNR is partnering with the Wildlife Forever® State-Fish Art® Contest to host an Iowa State-Fish Art Contest. Students are encouraged to use their artistic skills to create an image of their favorite Iowa fish (see the eligible fish list) in its natural habitat.

The first place artwork in each judging category will be submitted for National Awards. First place winners at the state level will be honored at the annual State-Fish Art Expo this summer. Each student submitting an entry will receive a Certificate of Recognition.

All entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2016.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy Bat Week!

Bat week is an annual international celebration of the role of bats in nature. Step outside around dusk and take a few moments to look for bats in your neighborhood.
Iowa is home to nine bat species: little brown bat, big brown bat, red bat, hoary bat, silver-haired bat, Indiana bat (federally endangered species), evening bat, eastern pipistrelle, and northern myotis.

Fun Bat Facts
  • A small bat eats between 1,000 and 2,000 small insects every night. Bats use sonar to find dinner when it’s pitch black out. Bats make noises, which bounce off the bugs and back to the bats’ ears, where the sound is picked up by the bats’ specialized hearing.
  • Bats are our only flying mammals in the state.
  • One of Iowa’s few true hibernators, bats hibernate all winter until there are insects to chow down on again.
  • Within three weeks of being born, young bats are taking flight. They grow quickly, being full-grown in about a month after birth. Young bats take off for their own roosts once they’re weaned.
  • Bats hang upside down because it allows them to roost in places where predators can’t reach them. It also allows them to get into the air faster by falling to achieve flight.
Helpful Websites

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hot Topic - Climate & Iowa

Need help developing relevant lesson plans that focus on student learning, NGSS/Common Core and STEM?

The University of Iowa College of Engineering and the College of Education have teamed up to offer a real-world, STEM focused professional development opportunity related to flooding in Iowa. This opportunity is geared toward Iowa middle and high school teachers - teachers, administrators and STEM team members are encouraged to apply. 

Date: Friday, November 13, 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.
          Saturday, November 14, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Location: John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center RM #128, 1200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines
Stipend: $250 stipend 
Cost: Earn one optional continuing education/graduate credit for only $65
Application deadline: Nov. 4

Participation is limited to 25 people. Visit the
event website for more information and to complete the application.

If you have any questions, contact Ted Neal at (319) 335-5327 or Gabriele Villarini, with the University of Iowa.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Habitat Connections Giveaway

BirdSleuth is giving away 50 Habitat Connections kits to classroom teachers across the country this spring. Are you interested? Along with the Habitat Connections kit, selected teachers will also receive a free bird feeder and bird seed thanks to our sponsors from Perky-Pet®

Who’s Eligible? 3-8th grade classroom teachers in the United States that can use the Habitat Connections lessons described below in their classroom. Winners will be selected on a ongoing basis until Friday, November 13, 2015. If selected, you will receive your free kit, bird feeder, and bird seed in the spring just in time for classes.

To apply for a kit:Complete our online survey. Application deadline is Friday, November 13, 2015. Winners  will be notified on a ongoing basis until Monday, November 23, 2015.
Habitat Connection Details
There are seven easy to follow and implement lessons in the curriculum. Each includes concise learning objectives, background reading, reflection and evaluation questions, and teaching slides (a Powerpoint file on a USB drive) to help you. The lessons were field tested by 3-8th grade teachers, and are tied to the NGSS and Common Core Standards.
  1. Habitat Investigation: Students learn about the habitat needs of birds, then go outside to map the habitat in their schoolyard. These maps can be used to create a YardMap, a citizen-science project.
  2. Migration Obstacles: Students run a migration obstacle course to actively experience some of the challenges that migrating birds face. (In the photo above, a “bird” dashes across a road and around a window, bringing the challenges of real birds alive!)
  3. Bird Survivor: Students discover the life cycle of birds and the challenges that nesting birds face by playing a “Bird Survivor” game.  They are invited to take action by participating in the NestWatch citizen-science project.
  4. To Migrate or Not: Students learn about the costs and benefits of migrating or staying in one area all year through a demonstration, and then do research on individual birds.
  5. Scientist in Action: Students are introduced, through videos, to a scientist who studies migrating Hudsonian Godwits. They learn about the scientific process and the nature of science by examining his work.
  6. Modeling Migration: Students look at animated bird-distribution maps created using citizen-science data, and discover the value of models in understanding where bird species are located throughout the year. They are invited to take part in the eBird citizen-science project and explore eBird data.
  7. Improve Your Bird Habitat: Through mapping and planning habitat improvements in their schoolyard or another open area, students learn about the importance of small-scale habitat management and discover the characteristics of green spaces that create good habitat for birds.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Watch Science Standards Conference Live

Educators and administrators across Iowa can watch the Oct. 20 Science Standards conference through livestream.

The conference, which is at capacity, is designed to bring together administrators, curriculum directors, Area Education Agency personnel, teacher leaders and higher education faculty to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with the adoption of the new Iowa Science Standards.

National leaders in the development and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards will join state stakeholders to discuss efforts to implement new science standards in Iowa.

The event is hosted by the University of Iowa’s College of Education, the Jacobson Institute at Grand View University, and the Iowa Department of Education.

The livestream will begin at 9 a.m. and continue to the end at 3:35 p.m.