Environmental Education At Home with EarthEcho
Environmental Ed for the Accidental Homeschooler
In the wake of this global pandemic many of us are working to create new routines and new normals for our children, students, coworkers, and friends. At EarthEcho, April traditionally signifies Earth month and is a time of celebration and activation around global environmental challenges! This year with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we hope that wherever you are in the world you can create opportunities to protect and connect with the natural world this month. In an effort to support our community, we have created the following list of activities that you can do on your own or with your family as we continue to follow the appropriate social distancing guidelines.
Happy Earth month!
PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS, EARTHECHO INTERNATIONAL RECOMMENDS CONSULTING STATE AND COMMUNITY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND WWW.CORONAVIRUS.GOV BEFORE CONDUCTING ANY ACTIVITY OUTSIDE OF THE HOME.
- Join EarthEcho staff for Snack-Sized Science, 15-minute interactive science demos meant to help your young learners get excited to investigate the fascinating world of SCIENCE! The activities are intended to engage families and students, grades 3-7, but all are welcome to play along. Visit our YouTube channel every Wednesday and Friday at 12 pm (ET) to join in on the LIVE fun with these easy interactive science demos!
WATCH SNACK-SIZED SCIENCE (direct links will be added as events go live):
"Chalk It Up to Ocean Acidification": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk5iWjv159s
"pHabulous pHun with pH": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTI0BDIXLW8
"Sneak a Peek at Beaks": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIVp5M1pPy8
"Backyard Biodiversity": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUwkP4-axgw
"Bud Burst": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_QpM5f-kLk
"Wading into Water Quality": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWyK7G95nE0
"Don't Be Salty": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpphNiwdpxw
"Defend Your Drain": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tusnxdzWCII
"Plant Your Paper": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ie0Nh4ctrw
"Urban Gardening with Philippe & Ashlan Cousteau": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1rdgrd3Pns
"Inky Ichthyology": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqsbN_4KNrA
"Rockin' Fossil Finds": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd9fJ9Ev_64
"Bundled Up with Blubber": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afGV86ggI-M
"Going Green & Keeping Clean": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNZk5qmVuFw
"Coral Creations": https://www.youtube.com/earthecho
"Diving into Ocean Zones": https://www.youtube.com/earthecho
"Build a Biome": https://www.youtube.com/earthecho
"Fantastic Filtration": https://www.youtube.com/earthecho
- Grow something. Whether it’s a pot of herbs on the windowsill or a container pollinator garden, planning a green patch and digging in the dirt are activities the entire family can enjoy. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving as that patch of soil becomes food for the table or a buffet for colorful pollinators like butterflies and native birds.
- Regrowing food scraps is a waste reducing exercise and a fun project for budding environmentalists of all ages.
- Take this time to begin composting at home! Composting diverts organic waste from landfills reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has been shown to reduce food waste as well. Our Youth Leadership Council member Ugo Angeletti has some great tips through his nonprofit organization Back2Earth and the US EPA has an excellent guide to get you started.
- Conduct an audit of your environmental impact at home to find ways to conserve natural resources through sustainability and save money at the same time! Energy and Water Efficiency are great places to start!
- Conduct an audit of the plastic packaging waste or personal care products that your family uses regularly to make changes in your environmental footprint when possible.
- If safe to do so in your area, schedule outside time to take a walk and identify/document wildlife on iNaturalist. Spring is happening all around us and it’s the perfect time to discover the nature in your own backyard.
- You can even preserve the beauty of spring in your own backyard by pressing flowers in wax paper to create decorative art for your home.
- Check out the EarthEchoWater Challenge and get prepared and inspired to explore and protect your local water resources when it is safe to do so. You can still be part of a global movement even with social distancing!
- Are you a photographer or just love taking photos with your smartphone? Join citizen science initiatives like the King Tides Project or Budburst to contribute to the ongoing scientific research on big topics like climate change and pollinator populations.
- Enjoy nature’s science lab, no textbooks or classrooms required. We love this activity that reveals the science behind the patterns and shapes of plants and animals.
- Take a nature sketching field trip in your backyard.
- Create wildlife habitats with bird feeders, bee hotels, toad houses or butterfly watering stations. A simple bird feeder also provides a great way to play bird bingo.
- Weekend activity: Stargazing, using an app like Sky View. Watch for meteor showers in April and May. Also, be sure to watch for the International Space Station passing over your skies!
- Dive into one of our National Marine Sanctuaries or take a virtual hike in one of our beloved National Parks!
- You can do a bird count or nature watch even while at home through the amazing live web cams online! Our favorites are the Monterrey Bay Aquarium livestreams (especially the Jelly Cam!), The Cornell Lab's FeederWatch Cam and the HoneyBee Hive Cam. Or find your own favorite webcam through Explore.org where you can count lions or hippos in an African preserve or spot polar bears in the arctic. Our friend Katie who is a Girl Scout in Concord, New Hampshire recommended this site of Aquariums and Underwater Zoos of the World and we've had an incredible time exploring!
- Stream nature! There are amazing documentaries, series, and programming that can provide a respite from news and a passport to our natural world and beyond. A few of our favorites include:
EarthEchoExpedition videos (EarthEcho.org)
Chasing Coral, Mission Blue, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Octonauts (Netflix)
Inventing Tomorrow, Xploration AwesomePlanet (AmazonPrime)
David Attenborough’s Light on Earth (CuriosityStream)
- Explore with books. Reading is a great way for the whole family to discover our connection to the natural world. Some of our favorite titles by age group include:
Make a Splash!: A Kids Guide to Saving our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands
by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. and Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
Lady and the Sharks by Jess Keating
(there are various reading level adaptations, this one is our personal favorite)
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner
by Janice N. Harrington and Theodore TaylorIII
Nature's Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story by Lindsey McDivitt
If a Dolphin were a Fish by Loran Wlodarski
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
Middle School/High School Level:
Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians series by Ellen Prager
Squirm, Skink, Chomp, SCAT, Flush, Hoot collection of novels by Carl Hiaasen
Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands
by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. and EarthEcho International
The Agnes Pflumm series by Merrie Southgate
Create a pollinator garden. (Recommended by Conner's Boy Scout Troop.)
Sell, donate and recycle your clothing. (Recommended by Conner's Boy Scout Troop.)