Spring / Summer eNewsletter
TOC Table of Contents

From the Board
Letter Letter from the Chair
I've opened my window a bit to allow some fresh air to seep in. It still looks like winter out there, but the snow is dirty and stale and melting fast. Happy spring in Vermont!

This year, SWEEP is focusing on resilience. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit defines climate resilience as:

The capacity of a community, business, or natural environment to prevent, withstand, respond to, and recover from a disruption.

At this time of year, nature models resilience as it recovers from the yearly "disruption" of cold and snow. Soon, photosynthesizers will respond to the warming sun by displaying a vibrant green. Birds will appear, showing us that they're betting on Vermont, yet again, as a place to successfully raise their young. Male frogs will race to their breeding waters and raise their voices to vie for female attention. After our austere winter, spring is gaudy and raucous. It's a multi-sensory display of natural resilience.

Our SWEEP community is invited to attend two significant events this year that highlight resilience.  On May 4th, 2018, from 3 to 7 pm, SWEEP will hold its spring gathering in partnership with Shelburne Farms, which will offer an excellent professional development opportunity for our members. Shelburne Farms' Climate Resiliency Fellowship will do a film screening of student work on service learning projects from around New England. This will be followed by a workshop on digital storytelling presented by the Vermont Folklife Center.

Click here to register for this fun gathering! Registration is required so we can plan refreshing snacks. Non-SWEEP members are encouraged to come to the screening and workshop in exchange for a small fee.

During our spring gathering, we'll discuss the 2018 New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA) Conference scheduled for November 1-3, 2018. The theme of this regional conference, organized by SWEEP, New Hampshire Environmental Education (NHEE), and the Wellborn Ecology Fund, is Coming Together for a Resilient Future. We expect a big crowd this year since the annual NEEEA conference took a break in 2017. At the spring gathering on May 4th, we'll announce volunteer opportunities that will help us accelerate our conference organizing efforts over the summer and get into high gear for the fall.

I wish you an energizing spring season, inspired by nature's resurgence.

Warm Regards,

Jenna Guarino
SWEEP Board Chair
SprGatheringSWEEP Spring Membership Gathering

We hope you can join us Friday, May 4, 2018 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee from 3 to 7 PM.

SWEEP's spring meeting is presenting this year in conjunction with Shelburne Farms' Climate Resiliency Fellowship to showcase educator and student work and community action on climate resilience in several New England states. A goal of the Climate Resiliency Fellowship program is to advance collective impact for climate resilience. The meeting will also include a workshop by the Vermont Folklife Center on digital storytelling, which is a feature of the Climate Resiliency Fellowship projects. Refreshments will be served. Free for SWEEP members.

Another Meeting Highlight: Updates on the planning for the 2018 NEEEA Conference, hosted by SWEEP, NHEE and the Wellborn Ecology Fund!

Save the Date! Mark your calendars for the 2018 NEEEA Conference: Nov. 1-3, 2018, also at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, for this New England-wide conference on environmental education that will bring in experts from all over New England and beyond.

Now, more than ever, the environmental education community needs to come together, share best practices and help each other achieve our goals. Join SWEEP, attend the exciting May 4th gathering, and be part of our growing regional collaboration.
NewBoardSWEEP Welcomes New Board Members

During our annual spring gathering, SWEEP votes in its board members. This year, we have two excellent nominees: Chris Runcie, a veteran environmental educator with the Four Winds Nature Institute, and Elizabeth Spinney, the Invasive Plants Coordinator with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. We are thrilled that these two talented individuals have allowed us to nominate them for our board. We also applaud the arrival of Rebecca Roy, who joined our board this winter to fill a mid-term vacancy. Rebecca is the Conservation Education Coordinator for the Vermont State Parks. Our vote during the gathering will include the new folks as well as several continuing board members.
Membership SWEEP Membership Renewals

This is an exciting year for SWEEP! The spring membership meeting (May 4) will be held in conjunction with a mini-conference and workshop AND this fall (Nov. 1-4) SWEEP is co-hosting the New England regional conference. SWEEP members are eligible for discounts on registration for these events (the spring workshop is free to members!).

Make sure your membership is up-to-date. SWEEP operates on a calendar year, so on December 31 of each year, memberships expire. If you can't remember if you've renewed for 2018, send an email to Rob Anderegg, SWEEP Treasurer, at rob.anderegg@outlook.com.

To renew, fill out the form here or visit our website. Thank you for your continued support of SWEEP!
Kerri1Climate Resiliency Fellowship & Vermont SWEEP Spring Gathering

By Kerri McAllister, Shelburne Farms

May 4, 2018  3-7pm
Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, Vermont

Climate Resiliency Fellowship: Climate Action Project Presentations & Digital Storytelling Workshop with the Vermont Folklife Center

Our group of educators carefully approached the tide line to observe the huge waves crash in one after another.  Our hosts from University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant explained that this wave-washed, sandy area where we were standing had just recently been re-vegetated by their volunteers last week.  Since then Hurricane Jose had already made quick work of eroding the shoreline here and washing the plants away before they could fully take root.  Jose was a category four hurricane that rode up the east coast last fall between the more destructive hurricanes- Irma and Maria. As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense with changes in our global climate, communities are exploring ways to exercise better preparedness before and resilience after these kinds of events.   

Our group of educators from across New England was gathered there on the New Hampshire seacoast for a weekend last fall as part of Shelburne Farm's Climate Resiliency Fellowship. The goal for the weekend was to explore how climate change is affecting coastal environments. After hearing from expert speakers from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and exploring data related to sea level rise and ocean acidification, we were ready for some hands on work!  All of us were excited to be part of the solution and foster some hope and resilience in the face of these dire issues.
SFellows participate in coastal dune restoration and storm resiliency with UNH Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant programs

We planted hundreds of native dune grass plants in an important coastal area that supports recreation, community infrastructure (roads, bridges), and critical wildlife and plant habitat, all of which would be susceptible to coastal erosion and flooding with sea level rise and extreme weather events. The plants' root systems form an interlocking network below the surface to hold soil in place and reduce erosion and they are naturally adapted to handle influxes of salt water in their habitat.  

The educators involved in the Climate Resiliency Fellowship have been gathering for weekends like this over the past year. We have explored the resilience of forest, farm, and urban ecosystems in addition to the coastal environment; participated in citizen science efforts such as gathering data on snowpack and plant phenology; and the teachers have created Next Generation Science Standard-aligned lessons to deepen learning in their classrooms.  We have approached the issues of climate change from a variety of disciplines and credited sources and have focused strongly on media use and communication best practices to foster hope, solution-based thinking and community action. During our recent winter gathering the fellows had the unique opportunity to work with the Vermont Folklife Center to learn about tools and methods for documenting their classroom's climate service learning projects.  
Fellows gather on the shores of Lake Champlain for a summer retreat and professional development

The Climate Resiliency Fellowship, Vermont Folklife Center, and the Vermont SWEEP community are gathering together to celebrate the culmination of this program and to host the screening of the fellow's multimedia presentations on their classroom's climate service learning projects! Come find out what hopeful and amazing climate action projects students have been engaged in with their communities across New England!

Please join us at at Lake Morey Resort on May 4, 2018 from 3-7 for a joint event between Vermont SWEEP and Shelburne Farm's Climate Resiliency Fellowship!  

Light snacks will be served after the screening and following the presentations a digital storytelling workshop will be offered by the Vermont Folklife Center. This creative professional learning opportunity will provide the audience with the tools and know-how to create your own audio and visual stories for documentation, grant reporting, social media, sharing with funders, creating trainings and instructional videos, and more!  

Register for the Spring Gathering here!

Want to learn more? Check out:
Climate Resiliency Fellowship Website
Climate Resiliency Fellowship Summer Gathering Video

Photo Credits: Courtney Ley Photography; Kerri McAllister, Amy Rougier

JennaRestorative Practices Increase School Resiliency

By Jennifer Guarino
SWEEP Board Chair
Ecotone Education

I have spent my career as an environmental educator. I love connecting people to nature and educating them about the dynamic ways that natural systems perpetuate life on Earth. Mounting evidence indicates that human systems are degrading natural systems, yet our society can't commit to fostering environmental health. This lack of action is maddening given that we have access to ever-more-sophisticated ecological and technical knowledge. I believe that unmet human needs - for physical well-being, supportive relationships, and ways to make meaningful contributions to our world - create conflict between people and sabotage our motivation to arrest ecological damage and restore the healthy functioning of our biosphere.

Feeling that I needed to address the conflict-prone element of human experience in order to contribute to a healthier future, I went back to school in 2016 to obtain a graduate certificate in mediation. As a neutral party, a mediator helps people in conflict find common ground and move toward resolution. One area of this multi-faceted field that captured my attention was restorative practices, a methodology that sees each person as a valued member of the community, and asserts that meaningful inclusion in the community encourages him or her to take care of it. In contrast, people who feel rejected by the community are apt to turn their isolation into anger, frustration, shame, and/or fear, which can increase conflict. I was thrilled to discover that Vermont has a vibrant network of practitioners implementing restorative practices in schools.

A school is an institution of interacting systems. A small system, like a classroom, has many independent functions, but its "walls" are porous; visitors come in and students go out to participate in other elements of the school and community. Teachers work with school administrators and outside professionals to develop curricula and maintain high standards. Parents and community members participate in various school activities, importing their own experiences and perspectives. Cafeteria staff, bus drivers, librarians, and other workers likewise contribute to the school's culture.

A resilient school builds and supports constructive relationships among all of its stakeholders and works to repair damaged relationships in order to maintain full functionality and achieve its goals. Restorative outcomes include (from Defining Restorative, by Ted Wachtel, International Institute for Restorative Practices, 2013.):
  • reducing crime, violence, and bullying
  • improving human behavior
  • strengthening civil society
  • providing effective leadership
  • restoring relationships
  • repairing harm
As seen in the figure below, a restorative school environment can be represented as a pyramid with three tiers:
  • Tier 1: School-wide prevention practices. (the broad base of the pyramid) When restorative practices are implemented across all aspects of the school environment, members feel valued, relationships are constructive, and many friction points between people are addressed quickly and efficiently to minimize disturbance and maximize student learning.
  • Tier 2: Managing difficulties. (the middle level of the pyramid) In any institution, some conflicts can't be avoided and must be actively managed. When schools use restorative practices, many conflicts can be addressed proactively so that they don't erupt into serious issues that consume limited resources and strain relationships.
  • Tier 3: Intensive intervention. (the top of the pyramid) Even high-functioning schools experience conflicts that can cause significant harm. In these instances, intense intervention is required to keep people safe and address the big disturbances created. Many schools find that the incidence of serious harm is reduced, sometimes dramatically so, when restorative justice techniques are employed to acknowledge the harm, address the needs of the victims, and engage the community in creating resolutions that repair the harm. The offender is held accountable for the damage she/he caused and stakeholders focus on reintegrating the offender as a valued member of the community.
A Restorative Practices School Environment
Resortative justice
(From Restorative Justice: A Working Guide for Our Schools , by the Alameda County School Health Services Coalition, San Leandro, CA. 2011.)

If you would like to learn more about restorative practices in schools or share your own experiences with this approach, I would love to hear from you! Please contact me at jguarino556@gmail.com.

Also check out this brand-new, Vermont-grown resource: Whole-School Restorative Approach Resource Guide, by Jon Kidde, published by the Vermont Agency of Education (December 2017).

Lynn1The Health of Vermont's Future Hardwood Forests is At Risk

By Lynn Levine
Environmental Educator
Consulting Forester

Yes, there are insect and disease issues that can dramatically affect our forests.  And, yes, climate change will, over time,  change the composition of our forests.

But, there is a problem that we can more easily do something about. Simply stated, there are too many deer above the carrying capacity of the land in most of Vermont's woods. It is a hidden problem that even nature-oriented people walk right past.
Below, you will see two different saplings. Below, you will see two different saplings.  If you look at these two examples, on the right is a white ash and on the left is a sugar maple that have been both been browsed by deer.

Each white tag indicates where the deer have browsed the sapling. The sugar maple, about a foot high, is 11 years old. The white ash, about three feet tall is 25 years old.

Every time you see a little curve (change in direction), or when the sapling splits into two, it means that the deer ate the leader bud. What do you think these saplings will look like when they grow into trees? Actually, because the deer come back to feed every year or so, these saplings will probably never grow up to be a tree. Every day each deer eats 10-15 lbs. of twigs.  Yes, that's Each Deer and Every day!

The next time you are outside, you can see for yourself. Now that you see the pictures of the sapling. Look down when you are in the forest, whether walking, skiing or hunting.

Don't let abundant straight trees fool you. They are most likely beech and black birch, which we don't want to dominate our next forest (where will maple syrup come from?). Instead of sugar maple and oak there will be beech, black birch and more and more invasives. Only 1% of beech trees do not become diseased and die prematurely. And, a monoculture of black birch is not healthy and is not anything like our current magnificent northern hardwood forests.

Below, is a map showing deer damage throughout the state. The darker the orange color, the worse the browsing damage, as measured by Federal Inventory.

So, as an environmental educator, you may ask "What can I do?" Here are a few thoughts:
  • Talk to your students about the issue.
  • Take your students on a field trip to look at deer browse conditions (go to what is currently a hardwood area).
  • Speak out to the decision-makers listed below.
According to Nick Fortin, the Vermont Deer Project Leader "The only way to reduce the population of deer is to harvest antlerless deer (Yes, does)."

The ultimate decision-maker is the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board (composed of one volunteer member per county) does not seem to agree that there are too many deer. They determine how many hunting permits are issued for bucks and antlerless deer. Many of the F&W Board members (all who hunt) base their judgement on how many deer they see, rather than on our on-the-ground method of studying the extent of deer browse. It is critical that all Vermonters, including hunters, understand that the future of Vermont's recreational, maple syrup and timber industries are at risk in many parts of Vermont.

These decision-makers must hear from environmental educators that, in order to have a healthy forest, we must allow more hunting of does.

Contact the Representative from your county. Here is a link to a list of those Board members or call Nick Fortin, VT Deer Project Leader (802) 786-3860 or email Nick.Fortin@vermont.gov.

We all want healthy forests in Vermont.

Four Winds
Photo by Ellen Bodin
FourWindsSpring News From Four Winds Nature Institute

Four Winds' Nature-based Play and Learning- Early Childhood Professional Development

Nature-based play in early childhood allows children to investigate natural phenomena, generate meaningful questions, develop problem solving and communication skills, and foster a sense of place. In 2018 Four Winds is facilitating several early childhood and elementary education professional learning communities (PLCs) around Vermont where participants venture outside, learn about nature-based play and learning, and investigate best practices in developing rich outdoor learning opportunities for young children.  New PLCs are starting up this summer! For more information, visit Four Winds or contact Jen@fwni.org.

Summer Learning and Four Winds
Four Winds
Photo by Jen Brown

Check out the VT Higher Ed Collaborative's Early Childhood Institute at Castleton University this July. Four Winds is leading a course entitled "Building Peaceful Communities through Nature Based Learning and STEM Education Strategies" for early childhood professionals. We'll focus on how children make sense of and connect with their world and with each other through nature-based play and learning and through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We'll discuss what STEM is, how it is connected to nature-based play, and what it all means to our teaching practice. Let the early childhood professionals in your life know about this summer's professional development opportunity.

The Four Winds Nature Program Continues to Grow

With 1,500 community volunteers in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York participating in the Nature Program, we are clearly committed to opening the door to discovery in nature! And this year we extended our reach into Maine. The Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta, Maine became a new Nature Program town in September. Now the volunteer coordinators in that town are working to recruit nearby schools into the program to build a culture of community engagement in natural science and place-based education in the area. We're looking forward to working with local environmental educators to create some new Nearby Nature units on tidepools and shore birds!

pocket guide
Lynn2A New Book by Lynn Levine

The Secret Life of Ferns: A Pocket Guide for the Common Ferns of the Northeast, by SWEEP member Lynn Levine, is an easy-to-use guide to 26 ferns, and will be available this summer at area bookstores. It includes hints for identification, interesting notes and lifelike illustrations of ferns.

Lynn Levine is also author of two tracking books: Mammal Tracks and Scat: Life-Size Tracking Guide and Mammal Tracks and Scat: Life-Size Pocket Guide, and two children books:  Snow Secrets and Is it Time, Yet?

Briony Morrow-Cribbs is the illustrator for Wicked Plants.

new home
NWHomeA New Home for Northern Woodlands

The headquarters for the Center for Northern Woodlands Education, the publishers of Northern Woodlands magazine, has moved over the river to Lyme, NH! SWEEP board member Emily Rowe is on staff at Northern Woodlands (shown in front of the new office in the pic), and would be happy to greet you if you happen to be in the Upper Valley and want a tour of the new digs. Check out the From the Center column in the magazine's latest edition for details.

garden of wisdom
CadutoBookA New Book by Michael Caduto

Announcing publication of The Garden of Wisdom: Earth Tales from the Middle East - a new children's book edited by SWEEP member Michael J. Caduto, creator and co-author (with Joseph Bruchac) of the New York Times best-selling Keepers of the Earth® series. The Garden of Wisdom was borne of a decade-long collaboration between more than 50 individuals and 20 organizations in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine-including teachers, conservationists, and storytellers working across geographical and political borders to foster peaceful coexistence. These traditional stories, gathered directly from oral tradition, show children how to live in harmony with others and in kinship with Earth: from protecting endangered species, habitats, and water quality, to the virtues of truth, justice, gratitude, and generosity.
  • Stories are arranged by theme: Animals, Plants, Friendship, Stewardship, and Wisdom.
  • Exclusive sections for parents and teachers reveal the sources of the stories, suggest lessons to teach from each story, and share the journey behind this unique book.
  • Includes a firsthand account of nature and environmental issues in the Middle East.
Recipient of the National Storytelling Network's prestigious Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling, in recognition of the transformative properties of storytelling on individuals and communities.

MICHAEL J. CADUTO is an award-winning author of 20 books in natural history, environmental education, climate change education, and Earth stewardship, and a master performer of stories and original music. His books include the international bestselling Keepers of the Earth® series (creator/co-author), Pond and Brook, Catch the Wind-Harness the Sun, and Riparia's River. Look for his books and programs here.

ODELIA LIPHSHIZ is an accomplished illustrator and artist based in Israel. She creates worlds of fantasy and wonder for children, and for everyone who is a child at heart. Odelia has illustrated children's books for A.A Milne, Nurit Zarchi, and more. Says Odelia, "I am a peace seeker, dreamer, and a great believer." More of her works can be found here.

Green Heart Books, Reading, Vermont, USA. 156 pages, full color story illustrations and photographs of nature in the Middle East. 8 ½ x 8 ½. Ages 7 and up. Hardcover $26.95 (U.S.). ISBN: 978-0-9727518-5-8. EBOOK $9.99, ISBN: 978-0-9727518-3-4 (Digital formats include Apple iBook & Amazon Kindle.)

TO ORDER: Signed copies can be ordered directly from the editor here. Also available widely through major online retail stores, in both hardcover and digital eBook formats.


"Animals by nature know no borders, at least not by their own construction. Nature unites us, and The Garden of Wisdom is a fine place for us to meet." -Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle

"Featuring Middle Eastern parables with a touch of Aesop about them, Michael Caduto's Garden of Wisdom rewards the reader over and over." -Gregory Maguire, New York Times best-selling author of Wicked, Mirror Mirror, Leaping Beauty, and After Alice.

"Each story is told from the perspective of a unique culture of the Middle East, and yet tugs at familiar strings we all remember from stories told to us as children, reminding us that the earth and humanity's story are to be cherished and celebrated." -Magda Nassef (Cairo, Egypt), Consultant for the United Nations Environment Programme

" The Garden of Wisdom is a beautiful way to enter the cultures of the Middle East through local folk stories, wonderful illustrations, and gorgeous photos. I will share this book widely to help promote mutual respect and understanding in the world. The Garden of Wisdom will make a perfect gift for every child and 'child at heart' in your life!" -Sharón Benheim, Coordinator, Martin Springer Center for Conflict Studies, Ben Gurion University (Beersheba, Israel)

"The wisdom of this book is a gift which reminds us that, wherever we are, the power of nature is ever at hand to guide us to a better place through the magnificent stories we tell." -Bill Kilburn, Program Manager, Back To Nature Network, Ottawa, Ontario (of the global Children and Nature Movement)

Sales of this book will help support translations into Arabic & Hebrew.

BioBlitzBioBlitz 2018: One Wild Weekend

July 21-22, 2018
Hubbard Park & North Branch Nature Center

Break out the binoculars and bandstands for Montpelier BioBlitz 2018: a citywide nature celebration and a quest to catalog every form of life within Montpelier's boundaries.

Ten years ago, the Montpelier BioBlitz 2008 was Vermont's greatest gathering of nature lovers, families, and scientists, and the world's first BioBlitz of a state capital. Over 150 biologists scoured the city documenting nearly 1,500 species-many new to Montpelier, and others new to Vermont. For the tenth anniversary of this auspicious event, North Branch Nature Center is joining forces with the City of Montpelier and the Montpelier Conservation Commission to present an even bigger BioBlitz!

Based at two hubs, Hubbard Park and North Branch Nature Center, BioBlitz 2018 is a 24-hour community festival that is equal parts outdoor celebration and citizen science adventure. Hundreds of people will be enjoying Montpelier's greatest natural treasures while partaking in a huge menu of outdoor activities. Meanwhile, biologists and volunteers from around the northeast will spread across the city gathering critical data for environmental conservation by discovering and documenting every species in Montpelier.

Community Activities:
  • Nature walks & workshops
  • Mountain bike races & trail rides
  • Live music and dancing
  • Food & games
  • Camping in Hubbard Park
  • Kids makerspace & activities
  • Live animals & nature exhibits
  • 5k run and outdoor exercise classes
  • Presentations by expert biologists
  • Zipline & giant slip n slide
Join the BioBlitz!

To make this event a success, we are recruiting a village of biologists, naturalists, educators, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and friends. We are actively raising funds and offering publicity, booth space, banners, and other benefits to donors.

We are also seeking experienced biologists to participate in the natural resource inventory and to offer public programs. For more information, or if you'd like to get involved, please visit BioBlitzMontpelier.org.

Apple Trees to Zooplankton. Everything Counts. Especially You!

BirdsVTApril Events at Birds of Vermont Museum

Spring Volunteer Work Party - Saturday, April 21, 9 am - 2 pm

Volunteers needed! Please help us prepare the Museum for the open season. From trail maintenance to data entry, we have opportunities for all. Come for an hour or all day, bring yourself, a friend, a family. Additional trail and garden work will happen in May, when the weather is that much nicer.

All welcome! Pre-register so we have enough sandwiches; drop-ins with their own lunch are welcome too! (802) 434-2167 / museum@birdsofvermont.org.

How to Use Your Camera for Birds with Bryan Pfeiffer
Sunday, April 29, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Learn specific techniques for your camera and improve your bird photography!  Bryan begins with the fundamentals of light, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Then we move to the challenges of motion and depth of field. From there we work on metering and other essentials for getting the most accurate or creative shot in any situation. We practice macro photography so that you can capture shots of small things in nature (or indoors). and we'll shoot together in "scenarios" to help with birds and other wildlife, landscapes, portraits, and odd lighting.

This is Bryan's signature workshop for folks who want extraordinary photos from ordinary point-and-shoot cameras. Limit: 10. $75 / discounted to $65 for Museum Members.

Please sign up  for this workshop by calling or emailing the Birds of Vermont Museum (802) 434-2167 / museum@birdsofvermont.org.

Bird Monitoring Walks - Last Saturdays, April 28, May 26, June 30, 7:30 am - 9:00 am

All birders welcome on the monthly monitoring walk outdoors on the Museum's trails in forest and meadow. We often have coffee afterwards, indoors at our viewing window. We go out the last Saturday of every month. (Walks start at 7:30 am April - August; 8am September - March).

Most fun for adults, older children. Please bring your own binoculars. Free. Pre-registration nice but not required. (802) 434-2167 / museum@birdsofvermont.org.

Visit the Birds of Vermont Museum's Events Calendar for more.
VTEnvirothonVolunteers Needed for Vermont Envirothon 2018

What: Vermont Envirothon
Wednesday May 23, 2018
Where: Mount Norris Scout Reservation, Eden, VT

Teams of high school students from all over Vermont convene to compete in hands-on practical exams on Vermont's environmental issues related to forestry, wildlife, soils and water resources. Students also present a project they conducted in their community based on a current environmental issue, this year the issue is public land management. This event is co-sponsored by a variety of agencies and organizations working in natural resource conservation.

We need volunteers to help make this large event run smoothly. If you would like to spend a day with inspirational leaders of the future, contact Stacey Waterman ( Stacey.Waterman@vt.nacdnet.net or 802-888-9218 ext. 3007).

You will receive a great Envirothon t-shirt, free lunch, and loads of inspiration and good feelings!
northern woodlands conference
NWC18Save the Date for the Northern Woodlands Conference

October 12-14, 2018
Hulbert Outdoor Center, Fairlee, Vermont

Enjoy a fun, informal weekend with the Northern Woodlands crew at Hulbert Outdoor Center on Lake Morey, while engaging with writers, scientists, artists and educators. Natural history presentations, writing workshops, woods walks, and more.

  • Bryan Pfeiffer, writer, photographer, field naturalist, faculty in public communications at University of Vermont, consulting entomologist, tour guide, co-author Birdwatching in Vermont, co-founder Vermont Butterfly Survey and Vermont Damselfly and Dragonfly Atlas.
  • Ben Cosgrove, musician (albums include Salt and Field Studies), essayist, former fellow or artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park, Harvard University, Isle Royale National Park, Middlebury College, White Mountain National Forest, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.
  • Erica Heilman, creator & host of Rumble Strip podcast, featured on NPR's Day to Day, Hearing Voices, SOUNDPRINT, KCRW's UnFictionaland major public radio affiliates, former documentary television producer for WNET, HBO and ABC News.
  • Jerry Jenkins, botanist & ecologist, Director, Northern Forest Atlas, author of Woody Plants of the Northern Forest,The Adirondack Atlas, Acid Rain in the Adirondacks, Protecting Biodiversity on Conservation Easements, and Climate Change in the Adirondacks.
Full program coming soon! Registration opens May 15. Check our website for updates.

summer institute
VEEP1Two Summer Institutes with the Vermont Energy Education Program

The Vermont Energy Education Program is offering two five-day Summer Institutes for K-12 science teachers at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT. Deepen your skills and understanding around Next Generation Science Standards, energy, and climate through hands-on exploration, discussions with experts, field trips, and collaboration time for unit creation.

Institute #1, June 25-29, 2018, focuses on energy and climate as core disciplinary ideas and is for teachers of any experience level.

Institute #2, August 6-10, 2018, is for experienced teachers who want to make their units three-dimensional and personalized.

Scholarships available. Get more info and register here.
teacher training
Teachers experimenting with solar PV panels at a recent ERC training day in Gorham NH
VEEP2One-Day Trainings on Electricity, Renewables, and Climate Change for Educators

In these six-hour workshops offered by the Vermont Energy Education Program, teachers and educators will get their hands on a variety of resources to help make learning about electricity, the environment, and climate change fun and engaging for students in grades 6-12. Training dates and locations:
  1. Friday, March 30, 8:30 am-3:30 pm, Hartford Town Hall, Hartford, VT
  2. Monday, May 7, 8:30 am-3:30 pm, Spark Space, Burlington Electric Department, Burlington, VT
  3. Tuesday, May 15, 8:30 am-3:30 pm, Rutland Central Supervisory Office, Rutland, VT
Get more info and register here.
NatureMus1April and May Events in Grafton, VT with The Nature Museum

At The Nature Museum, we asked local families through Facebook: "What is your favorite way to connect with the kids in your life outside in the spring?" Parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, teachers, and friends wrote back with a wide variety of ways to enjoy the beauty of our landscape in spring with young explorers. "We take a walk in the woods, following animal prints in the soft ground, and splashing in puddles. "My kid loves exploring swimming holes and noticing the seasonal changes in the water." "I like to take nature walks with my 5 year old. We pick up rocks to paint and collect interesting objects for fairy house making."

In honor of these families who love to be outside with their kids, in honor of Earth Day, of the coming spring weather, and of the Month of the Young Child, The Nature Museum is celebrating spring break this year with five days of interactive environmental programs for the whole family! In addition to The Nature Museum's regular visiting hours, we invite you to join our environmental educators at 11 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a special hour-long nature program that will be fun for all ages. Saturday will include a special Abenaki and Nature program in honor of Earth Day! Afterwards, delve into the museum then head outside to explore! Grab a trail map, try out an exploration kit, or go on a scavenger hunt!

Programs include "Eagles, Hawks, & Owls: Predators of the Sky" and "Boom! Flash! Recipes for Thunderstorms." While you're at the Museum, you can crawl through an underground bear den, dig for fossils, and dress up as your favorite creature! This is the perfect week to discover the curated collection of hands-on exhibits at the museum, explore the trails through fields and forests, and enjoy a guided nature program by an experienced environmental educator. Admission is by donation. Visiting hours are 10 AM to 4 PM from Tuesday, April 17th to Saturday, April 21st. Guided nature programs begin at 11 AM, and the Earth Day Party will be at 11 AM on Saturday, April 21st. More information at www.nature-museum.org. Admission to the museum and to these programs is by donation.
WinooskiSpring Bird Walks with Winooski Valley Park District

April 28, 2018 at 8:30 AM - 10 AM & June 2nd, 2018 at 8:30 AM - 10 AM. Delta Park, Colchester, VT

Come join our bird expert and environmental educator, Juli, for a series of bird walks to observe spring migration. Meet at Delta Park IBA in Colchester, an IBA is an Important Birding Area, and Delta Park is the top HOTSPOT for birding in Chittenden County! We will walk out to the Delta, observing songbirds and woodpeckers in the woods, and then waterfowl and hawks out on and over the lake. The walk is easy and flat and will only be just over 1 mile total.

Keep up with Winooski Valley Park District events here!
nautre museum
NatureMus2The Nature Museum Seeks Seasonal Environmental Educator

The Nature Museum seeks a Seasonal Environmental Educator for our Bellows Falls Fish Ladder and Visitor Center from Memorial Day weekend ( Friday, 05/25/18) through Labor Day weekend (Saturday, 09/01/18).

The Seasonal Environmental Educator will actively engage people of all ages to develop a greater awareness, appreciation and understanding of natural science and natural history. We seek a person who enjoys teaching individuals, particularly children, in non-formal and informal settings both indoors and outdoors.

  • Good communicator with colleagues, parents, students, teachers, and the  general public.
  • Familiarity with, or willing to become familiar with, strategies used to support positive learner behavior, and safety (i.e. Responsive Classroom techniques).
  • Willing and enthusiastic to work with the Senior Environmental Educator to learn and improve environmental education curriculum, lessons, and programs.
  • Flexibility with adapting programs to meet the needs of different audiences.
  • Training and/or academic study through college-level in environmental studies or a related field.
  • Experience as a teacher, environmental educator, and/or interpreter.
  • Experience with teaching various age-groups, particularly preschool and elementary age students, preferred.
Job Responsibilities:

  • Teach and develop environmental education programs with the Senior Environmental Educator.
    • Educator/interpreter at the Bellows Falls Fish Ladder and Visitor Center (FLVC): Center visitation hours are 10:00AM - 4:00PM on Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day weekend ( Friday, 05/25/18) through Labor Day weekend (Saturday, 09/01/18). FLVC educator/interpreter hours are 9:30AM - 4:30PM.
  • Assist Senior Environmental Educator in developing, producing, and installing new FLVC exhibits.
Secondary, as needed:
  • Museum Docent: Thursdays from  9:30AM - 4:30PM.
Other Requirements:
  • Current CPR and first-aid certification by an accredited organization. Note: If not certified, please still apply but note on resume.
  • Must have reliable transportation.
  • Must be willing to consent to a Vermont and federal background check.
Supervisor: The Senior Environmental Educator. The Senior Environmental Educator will be available as a mentor, provide guidance, and to serve as a co-teacher with the environmental education intern for some programs/lessons.

Evaluation: Will meet with the Senior Environmental Educator each month to set goals, assess past programs, and to evaluate the environmental education intern's performance.

Compensation: $16/hour. Approximately 350 - 375 hours of work. $400 housing stipend for each full month of internship (June, July, and August).

To apply, or for more information, please send your resume to Jay DeGregorio, Senior Environmental Educator at jay@nature-museum.org or call 802-843-2111. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Learn more about The Nature Museum here, and about the Bellows Falls Fish Ladder and Visitor Center here.
NatureMus3The Nature Museum Seeks Museum Docent

The Nature Museum in Grafton, VT seeks a part-time Museum Docent. Hours for this position are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from June to September from 9:45AM to 4:15PM. This person will also serve as docent at the Bellows Falls Fish Ladder and Visitor Center as needed, Friday and Saturday from 9:45AM to 4:15PM, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Primary Job Responsibilities:
  • Serves as host, to provide a welcoming atmosphere to visitors.
  • Serves as an interpreter of the museum's exhibitions, helping to give the visitor a deeper understanding and appreciation of the collection.
  • Provides basic maintenance and upkeep of exhibits and facilities.
  • Keeping The Nature Museum clean and orderly.
  • Data entry of museum and visitors center attendance numbers.
Compensation: $15/hour. No benefits.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to Executive Director Carrie King at carrie@nature-museum.org.
naaee jobs
NAAEEJOBSNAAEE's National Job Search Database

Looking to expand your horizons in the EE field? Browse the jobs listings on NAAEE's website. If your organization has a position to fill, you can create a free eePRO account and post your position at no cost!
ConsultingConsulting Services Available at Discounted Rates to SWEEP Members

SWEEP member Dave Chase is offering his organizational consulting services to fellow SWEEP members and member organizations at 15% below regular pricing in 2018. Dave is the Founder and Principal of DRC Consulting LLC and is also Adjunct Faculty in the Management, Education, and Environmental Studies departments at Antioch University New England. With more than 35 years of experience leading, managing, teaching, and consulting with environmental, educational, human service, social justice, and sustainability-related organizations at the local, regional, and national levels, Dave concentrates his consulting practice on various aspects of organizational development, including:
  • Strategic planning
  • Meeting, retreat, and process facilitation
  • Board training and development
  • Organizational capacity building
  • Program evaluation
To learn more about Dave and his work, feel free to visit his website here. To inquire about Dave providing consulting support to you or your organization in 2018, reach out to him by phone at 603-756-4025 or by e-mail at drcconsulting@cyberpine.net.
ClimateEducational Resources About Climate Change

Are you looking for high quality, science-based resources to teach about climate change? Are you interested in enhancing your own understanding of climate change? If either or both of these conditions pertain to you, you might consider perusing the following:
free digital magazines
FreeMagFree Digital Magazine for Teachers and Students

A Special Offer for Teachers and Students: Free Digital Subscriptions to Northern Woodlands Magazine

Are you looking for quality place-based education materials? Northern Woodlands magazine is available FREE as a digital resource to both teachers and students.

Whether your students are interested in bird biology, timber framing, or creative non-fiction, there is something for them in every issue. The magazine promotes greater understanding of the ecological and human benefits of forests, and a deeper appreciation for our shared role as stewards of local nature.

Northern Woodlands is published quarterly by the Center for Northern Woodlands Education, an educational nonprofit that promotes forest stewardship in the Northeast. You can learn more about us, and explore our two-decades-and-counting archive of articles on our website.

To qualify for a free subscription, you must be currently teaching a class at a school or other educational organization (this includes adult learning classes), or be an enrolled student age 13 or older. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Lynn3Protecting the Vermont Outdoors

Shared by: Lynn Levine

Vermont's forest products based industry (including maple syrup) produces almost $1.5 billion of annual economic activity. The fall foliage economy adds almost $1 billion, where sugar maple and red maple light up the forest. What if the sugar maple, oak, white ash, red maple, black cherry, etc. disappeared from Vermont's forests? Alarmingly, unless we intervene, that may be more than just a science fiction fantasy.

Although this looming crisis is not obvious to most of us, according to the 2015 Forest Inventory Analysis scientific study, in many parts of Vermont there is a potential for this to be our forests' future.  

The good news - at virtually no cost, we have the ability to stop this scenario from happening.
Please take a moment to watch this short video so you can learn how you can make a difference. Together, we can do something very important for the future of our state. Thank you for watching.
Vermont SWEEP | vermontsweep@gmail.com | Website