Green

Category contains 21 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

By Emily Hart, 2014 Environmental Education Program Coordinator:

I’m excited for my first summer at Courageous as the Environmental Education Program Coordinator. We’ve had a great first week!

We have two initiatives this summer to encourage staff and students to take positive actions on environmental issues: Meatless Monday and Waste-Free Wednesday. On Mondays, students in each step will receive one point for a lunch without beef, pork, poultry or fish, and on Wednesdays, students will receive one point for a lunch that produces zero waste (reusable containers, real silverware, cloth napkin, lunchbox or canvas bag). Waste and pollution from livestock production contributes to global climate change and damages ocean ecosystems, so we’re excited to help students learn how they can make small changes that have big impacts on their own health and the health of the oceans. Waste-Free Wednesday is in its second summer and it’s great to continue the conversation on how trash from land ends up in the ocean.

This week in the summer youth sailing school, we talked about crustaceans and jellies! We played crab tag and Invasive Species Web of Life to learn more about how the invasive Asian shore crab is affecting ecosystems here in Boston Harbor. In the Summer Learning Program, we explored the simple machines on sailboats, made windmills and used energy from the sun to cook s’mores in solar ovens! Imagine smiling faces and sticky chocolate fingers. I’m excited to work with the Instructors in Training (IITs) to give them a broad base in environmental issues (this week we learned about waste!) and to develop a related service-learning project over the coming weeks. 

in Green

One of the most rewarding experiences for me as an environmental educator this summer was working with the Instructors in Training (IITs).  At Courageous, the IITs are high school students who have attended the summer youth program for many years or are interested in becoming a sailing instructor.

The environmental aspect of the IIT program has two main components: learning more about environmental science and learning how to teach environmental science.  Each week, on Tuesday afternoons, I facilitated a mini-lecture on the week’s topic (mammals, crustaceans, sharks, etc), then the IITs participated in hands-on activities or experiments to further understand the subject.  These lessons were appropriate for high school level learners, using proper vocabulary and themes.  However, the hands-on activities were always fun and allowed the IITs the chance to immerse themselves in the learning in a fully enjoyable way.

On Thursday afternoons, the IITs and I worked on how to teach environmental topics to their future sailing students. These lessons often involved half of the group of IITs pretending to be beginning sailing students and the other half of the IITs facilitating an environmental activity for them.  Sometimes the lessons focused more on how to talk to students about nature and the outdoors while sailing.

I had a great time working with the IITs this summer.  Their energy and willingness to learn were a true inspiration.  I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to lead future instructors in becoming more environmentally aware and  more eager to teach environmental education to their students.

in Green

This summer, Courageous had the opportunity to provide reuseable water bottles to all of our young sailors.  Fitting perfectly with our Waste Free Wednesdays and commitment to heightened environmental awareness for our sailing center as a whole, the water bottles provided us the chance to significantly minimize waste. 

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in Green

Like I mentioned early in the week, Shark Supporters Week is about helping students and staff learn about sharks and begin to appreciate them as key players in the marine ecosystem. Find some great lessons to educate about sharks at the links below:

PBS      Discovery 

Remember to introduce science facts about sharks into the lessons so we can all view sharks as the beautiful, skilled predators that they are and not just ruthless man-eaters.  Sharks are always an interesting marine biology topic that excites kids and adults, so make sure to help others learn more than just what the media advertises about these special sea creatures.

in Green

Every Wednesday this summer is Waste Free Wednesday at Courageous Sailing center.  This means that on Wednesday’s students and instructors compete together as a sailing level against the other sailing levels to see who can create the least amount of trash at lunchtime. 

  • One point is given for every reuseable item that students and instructors use or any items they bring and plan to reuse, such as Tupperware, plastic bags, silverware utensils, etc. 
  • One point is also given for anyone who saves any food they do not want to eat at lunch so that they can eat it at another time. 
  • Points are awarded for any recycled items as well. 
  • One point is taken away from each sailing level for each piece of trash that they have or any trash that is left behind after they are finished lunch.  *Taking away points is an important part of Waste FreeWednesday because it allows sailing groups of different sizes to compete against each other and doesn’t just favor larger groups. 
  • Whichever sailing level has the most points at the end of the day wins a waste-free prize: watermelon!

Encouraging students and staff to begin thinking about how much trash they create at just one meal is an important aspect of any environmental program.  Waste Free Wednesdays can be implemented anywhere and are a fun way to learn about reducing trash.  Find out more details about how to start your own waste free program here.

in Green