CELF Reflection on Inclusive Learning
This month we are reflecting on the role environmental literacy can play in fostering inclusive learning in the classroom. We are thinking about different learning styles, how students engage with and connect to their subjects and how teachers manage to balance it all in a diverse classroom.

Lessons that integrate issues of sustainability and environmental awareness lend themselves to interdisciplinary treatment using a range of teaching tools. Research has shown that environmental education can be an equalizing force in a classroom. As one middle school teacher featured in a Stanford University study on the benefits of environmental education highlights,  “I have students with a variety of learning styles and learning abilities...The kids who have trouble learning, and for the kids who are super advanced, they’re all having the same discussions. There’s more collaboration and engagement and it contextualizes what they’re learning.”

This month, we spotlight educators successfully appealing to a diversity of learning styles and abilities by connecting kids to issues they care about in their communities.
This month:
  • Get Inspired: In Yonkers, NY, using visual media to connect kids to place.
  • Spotlight: In Houston, TX, fighting for a patch of green space.
  • New Resource: The Big Ideas of Sustainability poster is now in Spanish!
  • New Partnership: Lynne Cherry and Young Voices for the Planet.
  • CELF news: CELF workshops now eligible for CTLE credit.
  • January workshops: Upcoming workshops in NY and TX.
  • Video:See how schools are implementing CELF Citizen Science: Inquiry to Action.
  • Tools for Teachers: Diversity Hunt activity for your classroom.
  • Gratitude: In Houston, we are grateful for Morningstar doughnuts.
  • #CELFInsight: Insider insight from the CELF team.
Get Inspired: Yonkers, NY
Tara O'Gorman finds that using video to frame her project-based, interdisciplinary units builds collaborative and communication skills while reaching students with a diverse range of learning styles. Her kids are engaged with what they are learning and they are winning awards. They are also noticing the world around them in ways they never have before.
Spotlight: Houston, TX
In Houston, TX , CELF educators are working with Discovery Middle School in the underserved neighborhood of Gulfton to explore the environmental assets and challenges in their community, develop critical 21st century skills in communication and research, and cultivate a sense of civic engagement. For the many new immigrant students at the school, a new community action project to advocate for green play space can serve as an important interdisciplinary lesson that builds skills, a sense of community, awareness of the civic process, and clear purpose for learning.
We have translated the Big Ideas of Sustainability into Spanish. Click here to download for use in your classroom. We will be working on other Spanish-language resources in 2020.
CELF frequently features Lynne Cherry 's uplifting and inspiring films of students taking action for the planet in our work with teachers. We are delighted to formally partner with Young Voices for the Planet to further expand the program's reach and as a supplementary civics component to CELF's Citizen Science program. Click here to watch two of the films we use most frequently in our workshops.
With approval by the New York State Education Department, (NYSED), the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation is now an official Sponsor of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE).  All professional classroom teachers and school leaders in New York State must complete CTLE hours in order to retain their certification. CELF will now be able to issue CTLE certificates in our professional development, Citizen Science and Summer Institute programs.   Click here for more information.
Interested in attending a CELF workshop? We have an Intro to Education for Sustainability at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall, NY on January 16th and in Houston we have a CELF Citizen Science: Inquiry to Action training on January 25th . Click here to register.
Interested in implementing the CELF Citizen Science: Inquiry to Action program at your school, but not sure what it is or how it works in a classroom? Check out this video for more information.
Tools for Teachers
Diversity Hunt is a great way to introduce students to the Big Ideas of place, diversity, systems and interdependence. It invites learners to engage in their surroundings with the mind of a detective; looking for clues about the details and relationships within a particular space. We use this activity at many of our introductory workshops. Click here if you want to try it out in your classroom.
Morningstar Dougnuts
We can't do the work we do without the support of many different kinds of partners and supporters. Morningstar Catering in Houston is one such partner who has supported our workshops with delectable morning bites. We love their doughnuts! And we are so grateful for their efforts to support our work and reduce food waste. Thank you, Morningstar!

As part of our wellness routine here at CELF HQ, the staff makes an effort to get out of the office and into the fresh air whenever possible. We stride alongside a pond frequented by snapping turtles, white tail deer, Canadian geese, and a variety of birds. Our favorite is the habitual visitor, the great blue heron, standing tall and alone in the pond. It captivates us with its beauty and stance. 

“According to North American Native tradition, the Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. ... Blue Herons have the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and co-create their own circumstances.”  

We have adopted the blue heron as CELF's muse, inspiring our mission to educate for sustainability with determination and resilience. We stay true to ourselves and stand tall as we support schools' efforts to prepare and activate our future change makers.   

-Victoria Garufi, Director of Education
Interested in supporting CELF's work?

Want to help our schools teach students the skills they’ll need to build a sustainable future?

  • $250 Buys a teacher toolkit including lesson plans and resources.

  • $100 Promotes civic engagement through support for a CELF student symposium.

  • $50 Builds sustainability educator network through community events.