Here's What's Trending in May


End of Year Survey

As we end another school year, it's time for our team to reflect upon our progress, our successes and challenges. To help the Eco-Schools USA team update, modify and add to our program for the 2017-2018 school year, we rely heavily on the feedback you provide. The survey is now open and will close 6/16/17. Please take 10-15 minutes to complete our end of year survey. For those who complete the survey, your name will be entered into a drawing. Four educators will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.  



"When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me."
                                      Fred Rogers


There are so many words and ways to describe the awesomeness of teachers, but HERO is a good place to start. Thank you to all the teachers who give so much of themselves to this profession.



Schoolyard Habitats: Garden for Wildlife

During the month of May, the National Wildlife Federation will celebrate Garden for Wildlife month. All around the country, individuals, schools, and entire communities have joined the movement to create places that provide food, water, cover and a place to raise young for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. We are excited that roughly 11,000 schoolyards are now certified habitats. In addition, many of our Schoolyard Habitats are being used as Green STEM learning labs and outdoor classrooms. Now that certification for schools is free, it’s a good time to start planning for development of your Schoolyard Habitat for the 2017-2018 school year. Be sure to check out all our resources on the NWF Schoolyard Habitats web site and through Eco-Schools USA



Wildlife Library: Ants

What can carry 10 times its body weight and has been around for millions of years? If you guessed the tiny ant, you would be correct! There are over 12,000 species of ants, most who live in soil, leaf litter and decaying plants. Although worker ants may only live for weeks or months, queens may live for several years.  Ants rely on their senses to communicate with other members of their colony. Ants work hard, and play an important role in a healthy ecosystem. For example, they serve as prey to different birds, mammal and reptiles, and also help to aerate soil. Learn more about ants.  

You can also find fun facts about ants in the May issue of Ranger Rick magazine. And don’t forget about the Educator’s Guide which accompanies the magazine. This month’s activities include learning more about ants along with information about planting a butterfly garden.


Endangered Species Day - May 19, 2017

As of March 2017, there are currently 773 plants species and 503 animals species listed on the Endangered Species list for the United States. Protecting species of plants and animals most at risk requires knowledge and action. Join the 12th annual Endangered Species Day celebration with an event designed by you and your students. If you are unable to plan an event there are hundreds of events planned all around the nation – check the listings for something near you.  

The artwork from the talented student semifinalists in the 2017 Saving Species Youth Art Contest is now available for on-line viewing. And don’t forget to read 7 Easy Steps You Can Take at School for simple ideas that you can implement at any time to help endangered species.  

Transportation Pathway

Over the years, the percentage of children who walk or bike to school has decreased dramatically, leading to more cars on the road each morning and afternoon. Addressing the Eco-Schools USA Transportation Pathway is one way to help raise awareness and find sustainable transportation solutions. Students can investigate whether there are safe routes for students who walk or bike to school, and if there are large numbers of cars idling in the school parking lot each morning. Implementation of this pathway can help reduce the school’s carbon footprint, while contributing to a healthier school community overall.

Read our Top Ten Tips to Minimize Transportation Impacts for ways your school could implement this pathway. Download our spotlight lesson this month, Walk to School Week Teaching Resources, which can be found in the sidebar on this page.  And don’t forget to share your stories with us via social media @ecoschoolsusa



Green Opportunities


Bike to School 

National Bike to School Day is coming! On May 10th, students and families across the country will participate by biking to school. If your school is planning to participate, you can register on the Bike to School website. Learn more about how efforts to increase biking to school can promote healthier habits and benefit the local community. 

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Lesson Highlight: Walk and Bike to School Week Teaching Resources


Events are a wonderful way to celebrate the joy and independence of walking and biking to school and they bring school communities together. Most of all, they are fun! Check out the teaching resources associated with this event
Climate Change Education
Climate change is having significant impacts on ecosystems and wildlife all over the nation and around the world. How we address the challenges of global climate change now will dictate the outcomes and opportunities for future generations. Equip students with the knowledge and skills, innovative creativity and civic prowess to engage and combat the effects of climate change.


Don't forget to use Ranger Rick's Nature Notebook to help connect your students to the natural world and download a copy of the educator's guide too!