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Hive Mind

A year after the massive Tubbs Fire broke out in Santa Rosa, California, we joined some troops of Girl Scouts who are part of a new initiative to help farmers restore bee patches they lost to the wildfire. At the time, Tubbs was the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. Over 2,800 people in Santa Rosa lost their homes, including Joey Smith, an organic farmer whose house and farm burned down.

Since the fire, Joey has gotten his farm up and running again. We met him at Let’s Go Farm with the scouts, and spent the day with them, planting and learning about the power of small-scale farming in the face of climate change. Afterwards, Joey sat down with Girl Scouts Faline Howard and Samantha Murray to discuss how communities in Sonoma County can work together to restore the land.

Music: “Plaque” by Blue Dot Sessions and “Thinking it Over” by Lee Rosevere. Our theme song is by Ladybug Music.

Episode Art by: Lily Arzt

Resources for Environmental Educators:

Restoring communities and planning for ongoing changes in the future is no easy feat, but plenty of students, educators, land managers, and more are working together to build sustainable communities. Head over to the Sustainable Cities and Communities group on eePRO to find new resources and network with community members and professionals using thoughtful preparation to initiate change.

Interested in engaging your students in new and innovative thinking and encouraging them to work together to address local issues? NAAEE is continuing to develop tools for environmental education providers to user in partnering with school districts to advance environmental literacy.

The NAAEE Affiliate Network also provides state and regional level platform for environmental education professionals to collaborate on tackling policy, building networks, sharing resources, and more. Find your Affiliate and join the movement to help build a stronger and more unified voice for environmental education in your community.

Keeping It in the Family

After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Hadiya Culbreath had to wait three weeks for her home to be inspected. When her mom  got an infection from the mold inside, Hadiya realized many Houstonians were living in moldy homes, unaware of the health risks. Inspired to do something about it, she spent her senior year of high school building a hand-held mold detector.

Now that Hadiya’s got a prototype, she wants to know how to get it into people’s hands — and how Houstonians can band together to ensure recovery solutions are plugged into what the community needs. To find out, she sat down with community organizers Alycia Miles and Becky Selle from West Street Recovery, a grassroots group helping Houstonians rebuild their homes and grow community power.

Music: A Certain Lightness, The Silver Hatch, Soothe, and Taoudella by Blue Dot Sessions, Completely Lost by Lee Rosevere. Our theme song is by Ladybug Music.

Episode art by: Lily Arzt

Resources for Environmental Educators:

Fascinated by Hadiya’s mold detector and impressed with how she came up with it? Check out the E-STEM Education group on eePRO, where you can find E-STEM resources and opportunities, engage in conversations about using the environment as a pathway for STEM learning, and collaborate on how to incorporate design, experimentation, and technology into education programs. You can also check out NAAEE’s report on developing a blueprint for E-STEM success!

What’s at Steak

Bailey Morrell is a third-generation cattle rancher. She’s been raising her own herd since she was five-years-old. But when the California drought hit, her family had to let some cows go. She says watching the cattle leave on the trailer to the auction yard was like watching her family’s livelihood slip away. To pull through, Bailey’s family made some changes on their ranch — like thinking outside the box to conserve water.

Now Bailey wants to know, how can ranching and agriculture continue to grow in the face of future droughts? She sat down with California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross to talk about how to get agriculturalists to work together to combat climate change. They discuss growing up on the farm, struggling with the California drought, and how the state is taking action to conserve water.

Music: As I Was Saying, I Wanted to Live, and Thinking it Over by Lee Rosevere. Our theme song is by Ladybug Music.

Episode art by: Lily Arzt

Resources for Environmental Educators:

Interested in learning more about community-based water conservation and helping consumers make more informed decisions? Head over to eePRO to check out the CalWater H20 Challenge, a project-based learning competition for California classrooms tackling water conservation; a toolkit for engaging people in conservation efforts, and materials for advancing environmental literacy, including a guide for developing a state environmental literacy plan.

Something in the Water

John Atwater loves to go manatee watching right down the block. He lives in Vero Beach, Florida, on an island smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. But John’s worried about wildlife and his community. Over the past few years, climate change has been shaking up lagoons. Rising temperatures have fueled an outbreak of algal blooms, causing large-scale fish die offs. Now, John’s a water ambassador for EarthEcho and is trying to figure out how to protect the lagoon.

To get some advice, John sat down with Dr. Duane De Freese, the Executive Director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, to discuss how to create change for communities that are wrestling with very different water issues on the lagoon.

Music: Discovery Harbor, Sunday Lights, and Waterbourne by Blue Dot Sessions, No Squirrell by Podington Bear. Our theme song is by Ladybug Music.

Episode art by: Lily Arzt

*Imagine If listeners, we want to let you know that this is the second version we’re releasing of this episode. Some of the research in the first episode was mischaracterized and so we went back to dig deeper and give a more accurate representation. We apologize and hope you’ll enjoy listening to the episode!

Resources for Environmental Educators:

John’s passion for bringing together scientists, policymakers, and community members to collectively address environmental challenges in his coastal hometown is clear. If you’re interested in following suit, head on over to eePRO to check out the Environmental Issues Forums, which provide tools, training, and support for engaging people in productive discussions about sticky issues affecting the environment and communities. NAAEE’s series of “crosswalks” for environmental literacy are also useful for teachers and curriculum developers interested in designing lessons linked to the core concepts and principles needed for ocean, climate, atmosphere science, and earth science literacy.

Puerto Rico se Regenera

Nearly a year since Hurricane Maria, Imagine If is heading to Puerto Rico for our very first episode. We meet Isabel Valentín, a high school student who grew up leading nature camps for Para la Naturaleza (PLN), the largest conservation organization in the Caribbean. After the hurricane passed, Isabel found that nature was much more resilient than her community. Now she’s thinking about conservation differently. And she wants to know: how can conservation be reimagined to help Puerto Ricans heal and rebuild?

And then we pass Isabel the mic to interview Soledad Gaztambide-Arandes, who does environmental policy work with Para la Naturaleza. They talk about tree smartphone apps, planting as healing, and how PLN reframed their focus after Hurricane Maria.

*A note to our listeners, this episode was produced in May 2018.

Music: A Certain Lightness, A Simple Blue, Cirrus, and Valantis by Blue Dot Sessions

Resources for Environmental Professionals:

For more than a year, NAAEE worked hand-in-hand with our partners at Para La Naturaleza to plan our 2017 conference in San Juan. From organizing community service projects to protect urban forests, to planning opportunities for conference attendees to collect data on coastal ecosystem health, NAAEE and PLN dedicated countless hours to advancing our shared goals. While Hurricane Maria forced us to cancel the conference, NAAEE continues to work with our friends at PLN to bring people together to create a more sustainable future. Hear from PLN’s President, Fernando Lloveras talking about PLN’s recovery plan in Maria’s aftermath during the opening of NAAEE’s virtual conference in 2017.

Check out the incredible work of PLN to protect Puerto Rico’s ecosystems and engage public schools and community members in conservation efforts through a variety of high quality programs. Connect with other conservation-focused professionals and access vetted resources, tools, and learning opportunities by joining the Conservation and Behavior Change group on eePRO. Interested in building relationships and forging collaborations for advancing conservation in your own community? Check out NAAEE’s Guidelines for Excellence in Community Engagement.

Introducing Imagine If

Coming to you hot off the audio presses is a brand new podcast from the North American Association for Environmental Education!