Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kate Fisher's Appalachian Trail Poem

Our mountains are high.
Our mountains are low.
The ridge is a trail.
A hiking we’ll go!

Begin in the South.
And head to the North.
Gather your gear.
And let us go forth.

Which states will we see?
Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee.

Begin in the morn’
And walk til’ the night.
Waterfalls, wildflowers…
Oh, what a sight!

A shelter we’ll find
To get a night’s sleep.
Then up with the sun
And birdy’s sweet peep.

Which states are around the bend?
Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland.

Eager for news
And supplies in the mail
We’ll find a post office
Not far from the trail.

Then back to the woods
Where the trillium grow
And folks walking with us
Our trail name know.

Which states will we see?
Pennsylvania, New Jersey!

Our boots are worn out
Rain now falling.
Yet clearly the goal
of Katahdin keeps calling.

Weeks and months gone
We check off the dates.
Then onward we go
Through six more states.

New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts
Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, that’s it!

*Kate (seen on right) is the School Library Media Specialist at Upward Elementary in Flat Rock, NC
She went through the TTEC program in 2008

Monday, December 5, 2011

Invasive Exotic Plants resource

Hot Springs School removes invasive exotic, Japanese knotweed, along the A.T. 

Great youth activity book on invasive exotic plants:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Free Webinar

Dr. Brad Daniel of Montreat College will help participants become better outdoor educators by presenting a variety of mistakes made by those who teach in the outdoors. After a short video illustrating many of these mistakes, a comprehensive list will be compiled and solutions to each one will be presented and discussed.
Want a certificate of participation for any of our webinars? Please send us an email indicating which webinars or archives you have participated in/viewed. Due to high demand, Green Teacher magazine subscribers will have priority in receiving certificates.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Healthy Kids Outdoors Act!

Moments ago Congressman Ron Kind (WI) and Senator Mark Udall (CO) introduced the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act in Congress!  This is a huge milestone for all of us working to reconnect children, youth and families with nature.

You can read more here and see Congressman Kind’s blog on the bill here.  

We believe that the policies proposed by the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act will advance our collective efforts to reconnect children, youth and families with the natural world, while improving our children's health, supporting economic growth and strengthening the future of conservation in America.  The legislation will achieve these goals by:
  • Directing the President to develop an inter-agency federal strategy and action plan to connect children, youth and families with the natural world;
  • Encouraging states to develop similar state-based strategies that incorporate public health, parks and recreation, transportation and other initiatives at the local level; and
  • Supporting research documenting the health, conservation and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in the natural world.

All my best,

Patrick Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald
Director of Education Advocacy
National Wildlife Federation
National Advocacy Center
901 E St, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC  20004

Monday, October 24, 2011

Central Academy Middle School's day on the A.T.

Check out the Animoto video created by Central Academy Middle School from their day on the Appalachian Trail: http://animoto.com/play/bNWkoH3HmhA1WMN5Vha4ng?utm_content=main_link

On Friday, September 30, almost 200 Central Academy Middle School sixth grade students, teachers and community members went into the woods to experience a day of outdoor learning and discovery. They hiked, visited creeks and conducted experiments at various sites in the Jefferson National Forest near Arcadia. At Jennings Creek, students smashed rocks (intentionally), studying Geology with Claire Stull; they played in the creek while looking for aquatic macroinvertebrates with the Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District’s outreach educator Erica Moore; they participated in authentic box turtle data collection for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries with Wendy Grimshaw, conducted water quality testing for World Water Monitoring Day with Tim Miller, and interviewed two “real” AT section hikers who just happened along. At the Forest Service shelter near Middle Creek, students listened to amazing stories native to our mountain region from “Tales in Tandem” Appalachian storytellers Joan and Mack Swift. Eighth grade Journey students, along with their teacher Ashley Theimer, provided interesting “hip pocket” trail activities for the sixth graders after the stories. At Little Cove Mountain Trail, students practiced Leave No Trace outdoor principles with Angie Sheldon from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and learned from Appalachian Trail thru-hikers Homer and Therese Witcher just how important it is in life (as in hiking) to just keep moving forward, even in the face of adversity. None of this could have happened inside the walls of a school.

Educators Wendy Grimshaw, Tim Miller and Lisa Moyer planned these learning experiences after participating in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s “Trail to Every Classroom” (TTEC) training over the summer. The activities would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of the volunteers as well as educators Vicky Campbell, Christy Clonch, Leslie Dunbar, Tony Lewis, Rhyanna Moran, Myra Petty, Andrea Rahall, Laura Trumbo, Connie Woodson and Missy Young. The CAMS PTA generously provided for the Appalachian storytellers, and Principal Tim McClung offered ongoing support for the endeavor. Students were enthusiastically immersed in learning, and when asked about their day, students commented, “We learn better because we’re having fun, so we listen more,” and “We got hands-on experience that you can’t get in the classroom.” Students, teachers and volunteers are looking forward to another trip to the woods in the spring.

–Lisa Moyer, Gifted Resource Teacher @ Central Academy MS

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Youth Service America Grants Available

UnitedHealth HEROES Grants
Deadline Extended: October 23

The UnitedHealth HEROES program is a service-learning, health literacy initiative that awards grants to help youth, ages 5-25, create and implement local, hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity. The grants encourage semester-long projects that launch on MLK Day of Service  and culminate on Global Youth Service Day. Schools, service-learning coordinators, non-profits, and students in the health professions located in all 50 states and theDistrict of Columbia are eligible to apply for the $500 - $1,000 grants. Learn more at www.YSA.org/HEROES        

State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants
Deadline: November 9

State Farm™ is proud to team up with YSA to offer grants of up to $1,000 for service-learning projects in K-12 public schools in all fifty US states and the District of Columbia, and in the Canadian provinces of AlbertaOntario and New Brunswick. The State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants encourage semester-long projects (a Semester of Service) that launch on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (January 16, 2012) and culminate on Global Youth Service Day (April 20-22, 2012). Up to 125 grants will be awarded; at least 10-15 grants will support projects addressing teen driver safety issues. Learn more at www.YSA.org/goodneighbor     

MLK Day Lead Organizer Grants
Deadline: November 18

YSA and CNCS are proud to support up to 16 MLK Day Lead Organizers with $4,000 planning grants to coordinate Martin Luther King Day of Service (January 16, 2012) activities. This grant program is open to nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, and colleges & universities in all 50 states and DC. Grantees will be required to engage at least 3,000 volunteers in community service or service-learning projects on MLK Day, build or strengthen partnerships with at least 5 partner organizations, and address one or more strategic issue areas. Learn more:www.YSA.org/grants/MLKDay

Michael Minks
Director of Outreach & Innovation
YSA (Youth Service America)
Michael Minks
Director of Outreach and Innovation
YSA (Youth Service 
1101 15th Street, NW, Suite 200 | WashingtonDC 20005
P:             202-296-2992       ext. 125 | F: 202-296-4030

Monday, October 17, 2011

Virginia Fall Workshop

The Virginia Fall Workshop was a great success and a lot of fun! We were fortunate to spend a beautiful weekend at Wilderness Adventures, October 14-15. The colorful leaves were at a peak and we had two warm, sunny days. Friday morning started off with sharing curriculum and meeting with a panel of partners from several Virginia trail maintaining clubs, the US Forest Service and Mountain Lake Conservancy. It was inspiring to hear the projects and activities some of the teachers had already done with their students and so exciting to hear everyone's plans for the future. A lot of great connections were made between the teachers and partners and they look forward to collaborating on their projects.
We moved the classroom outside and learned some new, fun Hip Pocket activities that are a great way to engage students in the natural world and don't require too much planning or supplies. Several of the teachers were having so much fun, they said it felt like they were playing hookie from school! We continued the afternoon with an informative presentation on Communications & Media lead by Matt and Courtney from Virginia Tech. They shared tips for getting our TTEC stories into the local media's hands and what makes it stand out. Pat Woods joined us to talk about turning in curriculum and answered questions about graduate credit. The rest of the evening was spent on working on curriculum and of course heading out to the zipline!

Saturday morning we were joined by Dustin Eshelman who lead us on a beautiful hike and introduced some really important Hike Leadership techniques and practices. Chip Donahue (TTEC Alum and Advisory Council member) joined us as well and shared some of his vast knowledge on hiking with youth. We learned some more activities as well as important safety precautions and planning tips that will be really useful when taking students out on the A.T.

We headed inside to grab lunch and talk about the what to look for during the TTEC Alumni Year in 2012. Everyone took their time in filling out the evaluations forms that will help us to continue to make this program the best it can be, which was much appreciated. We had a final silent hike out to the gazebo on the pond, looking up at the beautiful ridgeline where we had our closing ceremony and handed out certificates. We all lingered for awhile out on the pond, wishing we could stay longer! Thanks again to all of the teachers who have put so much time and energy into the Trail to Every Classroom program this year and to all of our wonderful partners who make this program possible. I look forward to seeing you all in 2012!

Check out more photos from our weekend here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Check out this great interview with TTEC alumni, Jennifer Moulton, who was the 2011 Teacher-Ranger-Teacher on the White Mountain National Forest!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lost Ladybug Project

A fun idea to try out with your students on the Appalachian Trail!

Over the past twenty years, several native ladybugs that were once very common have become extremely rare. Scientists need to have detailed information on which species are still out there and how many individuals are around. Entomologists at Cornell can identify the different species but they need you to be their legs, hands and eyes.

The Lost Ladybug Project asks you to help find out wehre all the ladybugs have gone so we can try to prevent more native species from becoming so rare. This is the ultimate summer science project for kids and adults! You can learn, have fun and help save these important species. Here's how to participate in the research.

1. Collect: Go collect ladybugs! There are many different colors and shapes.
2. Take Note: Time, location, and habitat (for example, wetlands, meadow, garden).
3. Take Their Picture: Take pictures of all you find but please do not kill the insects.
4. Send the Info & Photos: Send this information and the digital images via www.lostladybug.org (click the "Upload Images" tab).
5. Set Them Free: Please release the ladybugs safely where you foud them.

For excellent ladybug identification guides and information, visit: www.lostladybug.org


Southern Workshop Reflections

The TTEC Fall Southern Region Workshop was held September 23-24, 2011, at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. Since no nature lover would miss an opportunity to spend time in our beautiful Smokies, attendance was maximized with all 8 teacher/educators, 3 TTEC alumni, 1 club representative, and, of course, SORO AT rep and coordinator, Julie Judkins. The two days sped by as we learned, hiked, presented, shared, connected, ate and slept.
We met early Friday morning and after stashing our gear at Walker Grove Tent Village, we reconvened in the outdoor Friendship Circle for curriculum sharing. We had an activity with a Park Ranger that involved leaf litter and critters. After lunch we were welcomed by Tiffany Beachy, a Tremont educator, and given a geology overview before we hiked to Spruce Flats Falls. On the hike we did some tree identification which culminated in our watching a black snake climb from a fallen tree trunk to and through smaller trees. It was more exciting than prime time. The falls were great, but we were all wondering if we would see the snake on our return hike and would it fall on our heads!?
After dinner we met again at the Friendship Circle for a night hike. No light sources were permitted. This allowed us to view glow worms and to further test our senses. After going slowly up one trail, feeling our way with our feet and holding hands and/or shoulders, consensus was that we did NOT like night hiking! We also learned we could not identify colors at night and that Wintergreen Life Savers spark when bitten!
After breakfast on our second day, Javier Folgar, AT’s Marketing and Communication Manager, gave us an informative presentation about working with the media. He was able to answer our questions and concerns and had good examples to share. Next, we Skyped with Pat Woods about grad credit projects. We enjoyed a presentation from our 2008 TTEC alumni about their TTEC project. Talk about partnering…they made it real. After lunch we met with folks from the Rocky Top maintaining crew. It was interesting to learn the tools they use and the scope of their work.
Unbeknown to us, while we listened to the Rocky Top crew leaders, our 2008 TTEC alumni—Kate Fisher, Becky LedBetter, and Jan Onan—were preparing the closing ceremony. As we entered the Friendship Circle, we chose a rock to build a cairn because we all build on the work of others. Then we were given a candle to light our candle and pass on to another, sharing the light. Julie Judkins presented the new TTEC graduate their certificates. Everyone shared some closing comments. And, so it was with warmth and friendship we ended our workshop in the Smokies.
Hope to see everyone next July in the Whites! Because what nature lover would miss that?!?

Respectfully Submitted,
Sharon Van Horn

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reflection on Institute 2011

I thought it worth sharing Tom's email after the recent TTEC institute:

You all have been on my mind and heart since our week together… I wanted to say thanks to all of you for sharing your passion and ideas for wanting to get your students & fellow teachers outside and connected to Nature. As I “reflect” on the week – all of it was special but your presentations were “wicked good” and our closing circle was very meaningful for me. Your energy has given me hope, inspiration and validation in what we all do…to engage our students and other teachers to be aware, appreciate and put into action the importance of our natural resources – especially the Appalachian Trail! This experience at our summer institute has helped me focus on my own Naturalist training this week with my staff – I have used some techniques and reflection exercises with them…thanks.

Here is a link to some research that might help you encourage why we need to do this important work with many areas of concerns you all shared during the week…from other teachers, administrators, & all grants you guys will get…

Just let me know what I can do for you in the future…I will pass on some more resources to help you in the future.

Enjoyed meeting and being with you all (southerners) or you guys (northerners…)

Wicked good time!


Tom Howick, C.I.G.
Director of Education
Master Naturalist Coordinator
Chattahoochee Nature Center

Friday, April 1, 2011

Newest TTEC Newsletter!

Don't miss the info on all the upcoming opportunities. TTEC Trail Crew, Let's Move! Along the Appalachian Trail, and ATC's upcoming Virginia Journey's Conference - NOT TO MISS! Check it out: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/atf/cf/%7Bb8a229e6-1cdc-41b7-a615-2d5911950e45%7D/TTEC%202011SPRING.PDF

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Green Teacher Webinars

gtlogomedjpgUpcoming Webinars…

We’re pleased to announce 3 new one-hour webinars this Spring for formal and non-formal youth educators. For details of these and the four previously-announced webinars, see below or visit http://greenteacher.com/webinars. A reminder: these webinars are free of charge. We hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to explore these current popular topics in environmental and outdoor learning with us.

We’ll be announcing more webinars soon, so please check our website frequently – OR visit http://list.web.net/lists/listinfo/gt-news and join our listserv to receive email notices of upcoming webinars.

collyerTuesday March 22, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: "School Grounds for Healthy Play and Learning – Research and Case Studies of Good Design and Teaching Excellence on School Grounds"
Presenter: Cam Collyer

How might school grounds now have a greater importance in a child’s development than 20 years ago? How far has the school ground movement in North America come in the past 20 years? Cam will share some excellent examples of school ground design from North America and Europe and contrast them. He’ll also share some approaches to teaching on the school ground that are working well and describe the momentum that, in some areas has school districts working in support of schools improving their grounds.

Age appropriateness: K-12

brodaWednesday March 30, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: "Plugged In; But Tuned Out: The Need to Reconnect with Nature"
Presenter: Herb Broda

In this age of alluring techno-gadgetry we need to be very cautious about maintaining a balance between indoor and outdoor activity. At a time when children's natural curiosity about the outdoors is eclipsed by the demands of busy schedules and the ever-present glow of video screens, schools and outdoor centers may be the only places where kids are encouraged to interact with nature. Kids need to go outside for both learning and play—indeed there is a need for old-fashioned unstructured play in nature – the kind of invented play that “older” folks fondly recall.

Age appropriateness: K-12

inwoodThursday April 7, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: "Shades of Green: Developing Artistic Approaches to Environmental Education"
Presenter: Hilary Inwood

This webinar explores the emerging field of eco-art education, an integration of art education and environmental education, as a means of helping to develop environmental literacy in students and teachers. Hilary will introduce artwork and artists focusing on environmental issues in Canada and beyond, as well as some of the eco-art work that has been created in Toronto schools in recent years. Participants will be invited to share their own ideas and projects for creative approaches to EE.

Age appropriateness: K-12

jcloudTuesday April 12, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: “Innovative Curriculum Design for Sustainability”
Presenter: Jaimie Cloud

Useful to both Pre K-12Educators and non-formal educators of adults and young people, the main idea of the first part is that thinking drives behavior and behavior causes results. Identifying and naming the changes in thinking required to make the shift toward sustainability is critical to the design of transformative education for sustainability (EfS) experiences. Jaimie will present the “big ideas” that frame EfS, and will then walk participants through the EfS curriculum design and innovation process.

Age appropriateness: K-12 (for formal and non-formal educators)

liebermanMonday May 2, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: “Using the Environment as a Context for Learning in Standards-Based Education Systems”
Presenter: Gerry Lieberman

The webinar will discuss the instructional components of the Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC) Model™ that was first developed by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER) in 1998. Describing how these practices can help schools meet the academic needs of their students, it will summarize some of the evidence about the educational efficacy of the EIC Model™. Finally, it will provide an overview of SEER’s recent work in helping schools implement the EIC Model™ and briefly discuss how environmental educators can support schools restructure their programs in order to implement an environment-based education program.

Age appropriateness: K-12

ellisTuesday May 10, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: “FROG SONGS: Poetry and Essays, Field Ecology and Entomology”
Presenter: Brian Fox Ellis

A poet’s eye and gift for language is very similar to the detailed observation and ability to communicate complex ideas required of scientists. Learn to use haiku to teach entomology. Learn to use poetry to help students write clearer more exciting essays. This simple set of lesson plans can be used by classroom teachers or informal educators to get students outdoors on a warm spring day to explore the relationships between insects and biodiversity. Come to celebrate the voices of nature and find your voice as a poet.

Age appropriateness: K-12 (for formal and non-formal educators)

maceachrenWednesday May 25, 2011, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST
Webinar topic: “Green Craft-Making”
Presenter: Zabe MacEachren

The why and how of focusing one’s eco-art activities on using natural materials easily found in the outdoors.

Age appropriateness: K-12 (for formal and non-formal educators)

We hope to see you at one of our webinars in the near future!



Tim Grant, Editor

North Carolina NCCAT participants

North Carolina NCCAT participants
At the Wayah Bald Fire Tower

Mary Jane

Mary Jane
On top of Silers Bald