HOUSTON – The National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy will work with Houston-area partners to advance climate and climate resilience education in schools. The first Houston Resilience in Schools Summit will connect middle and high school teachers to experts, resources, strategies and plans that will allow them to effect change on their campus and in their communities related to climate resilience and public health. Registration closes Friday, March 26.
“Instilling a connection to the outdoors and providing quality climate and environmental education for today’s youth is crucial if we want to arm them with the tools needed to protect and restore our natural world,” said Marya Fowler, director of education and engagement for the National Wildlife Federation’s South Central Regional Center. “At the National Wildlife Federation, we are pleased to work with teachers looking to enrich their education strategies and tools to fit our new climate reality, understanding that if we want to help future generations adapt to a rapidly changing world we need to invest in climate resilience education.”
“Houstonians are facing critical issues around climate change, health, and environmental justice. To meet this moment, we’ll need to use nature to help us create healthy and enjoyable places that all people deserve,” said Jaime González, Houston Healthy Cities program director for The Nature Conservancy. “We will also have to empower the next generation of leaders to implement on-the-ground projects that will make the difference. The inaugural Resilience in Schools Summit is a great opportunity for teachers and students to exchange ideas with some of the city’s most visionary resilience, biodiversity, health, and architectural leaders so they can redesign their campuses to be healthier, more resilient places.”
A call to action from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and a keynote from Houston's Chief Resilience officer, Marissa Aho, will inspire teachers to engage their students in a climate resilience project that will help advance specific goals set forth in both the Houston Climate Action Plan and the Houston Resilience Strategy. The event will also include presentations and activities by Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, EcoRise and the National Wildlife Federation, and a panel with climate resilience experts in the nonprofit, business and health sectors. Presentations will cover topics such as the energy transitions in a changing climate, environmental justice and project-based learning.
After the summit, teachers will be given the opportunity to submit a proposal to the National Wildlife Federation, based on the plans for a campus or community climate resilience project that they outlined during the Summit. Up to 20 teachers from different campuses will be eligible for a $500 stipend to facilitate the implementation of the project during the 2021-2022 school year.
The summit is part of the Student Resilience Ambassadors program’s initiatives. During its first year (2018-2019 school year), the Student Resilient Ambassadors program worked with five schools in the Houston Independent School District. Throughout this first year, students in the program designed and implemented nature-based solutions to prevent flooding on their school campuses such as rain gardens, bioswales and pocket prairies. Each participating school also conducted a watershed audit of their local bayou, including testing for water quality, soil quality and observing wildlife. Students used the collected data to draw conclusions and make informed decisions about the health of their watershed and how it might influence stormwater runoff and water quality. The program is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
About National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest and most trusted conservation organization, uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. In Texas and across the globe, we are conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale while mitigating and adapting to a changing climate. Since 1964, The Nature Conservancy in Texas has protected nearly one million acres of land, established 38 nature preserves and worked with state and federal agencies to create and expand state parks, national parks and wildlife refuges. These protected public lands include Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Caddo Lake State Park, and national wildlife refuges along the Texas Gulf Coast. Our freshwater program has protected more than 200 miles of stream and river habitat. To learn more, visit nature.org/texas or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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