Creating the Next Generation of Conservationists
Steve Adubato and Allison Mulch, Project Coordinator for Eco Schools USA at the New Jersey Audubon, discuss the Eco-Schools USA program and their goal to further develop Green Ribbon schools and create the next generation of conservationists.
"We're pleased to be joined by Allison Mulch, Project Coordinator for Eco-Schools USA in New Jersey, at the New Jersey Audubon. Good to see you Allison. Thank you. You too. You know, this is part of an ongoing discussion we're having about outdoor education, if you will. By the way, for those who don't know what Eco-Schools USA in New Jersey, what are they? Eco-Schools... Eco? Eco-Schools. I apologize. Yeah, that's okay. It's actually an international program. It's in 65 countries. Ecological? No, it... well the program itself is just called Eco-Schools. Okay? That's the international program. In the United States it's called... It's not short for anything? Well, it means "ecological." But the actual title of the program is Eco-Schools. Got it. And what does it do? Well in New Jersey, the way the program's run is it provides teachers a way to do environmental and sustainability education within their own curriculum. So it provides for them a structure, so that when they take children outside, they have a purpose and a structure for what they're going to accomplish. And the kids get to design their own project to make for improvement. For example? So for biodiversity... Biodiversity? Yeah yeah yeah! There's a thing called biodiversity? [laughter] There is a thing called biodiversity. And within Eco-Schools, we have what we call our pathways, and biodiversity is just one. So if your school wants to improve biodiversity, to improve habitat for animals, birds, in New Jersey, kids can do plantings, they can plant a rain garden, they can put up birdhouses, anything to draw in more native biodiversity to New Jersey. So that would be the first step if a teacher wanted to do that pathway with their students. You can also do... within Eco-Schools, you can focus on energy reductions. Energy reduction? Mm hmm. Yeah. What do you mean by that? So kids would actually go to the wall, flip on a switch, how many light bulbs went on? You were looking for the wall right now for a switch! I was! Yeah, I was looking for a switch! So you...? Play this out. You go to the wall? I go the wall, I flick on a switch, the kids count how many light bulbs are up there, a facilities director, or somebody who can reach up that high, says how many watts that bulb's in, and then I have a carbon calculator that they can actually put in the number of bulbs that went on, and the watts, and for the 180 day school year, they can figure out how many greenhouse gases... You...? ...are being put out from that one switch. Now it's real, and you can set..."