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May 4, 2012

Resources for Improving School District Outcomes through
Nature-Based Science Education In Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

On May 4, 2012, the EEFC hosted a convening at Microsoft’s campus in Silicon Valley. A large group of Silicon Valley school board members, district administrators, funders and non-profit education providers reviewed current research on the impact of environmental and outdoor education on student outcomes, effective programs in the community, and practical approaches for district-wide programming. Program video and free downloadable materials are available online.


Welcome – EEFC

Host Welcome Sid Espinosa, Director of Citizenship, Microsoft Corporation

What is “Nature-Based Science Education” and Why is this important?
Superintendent Craig Goldman, Mountain View-Whisman School District

Nature-Based Science Education Outcomes in the Classroom
Nicole Ardoin, Assistant Professor, School of Education and Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University.

A discussion of evidence-based research that demonstrates change in:

  1. Academic performance
  2. Classroom management
  3. Student engagement
  4. School culture
  5. Student attitudes towards the environment and sustainability

Bringing Best Practices by Environmental Educators to Your Community
– Jason Morris, Vice President, External Affairs & Programs, Nature Bridge


Resources for Teachers: Spotlight #1 on Innovative Local Solutions

  • Science By Nature: A Field Trip Website Designed for Teachers
    – Allan Berkowitz, Executive Director, Environmental Volunteers
  • Transportation Fund: How to Pay for the Bus
    – Ralph Schardt, Executive Director, Michael Lee Environmental Foundation
  • Mountain View-Whisman Nature-Based Science Education Consortium: A District-wide Approach to Environmental Education
    -Steve Olson, President, Mountain View-Whisman Board of Trustees
    -Mary Lairon, Associate Superintendent, Mountain View-Whisman School District
  • Collaborative IDEATION: Addressing Big Challenges to Five Key Topics.
    –Robert Suarez, IDEO.
  • Risk management associated with offsite excursions
    – Facilitator: Steve Hagler, Foundation for Youth Investment
  • Integrating outside providers’ programs into your curriculum
    – Facilitator: Ralph Schardt, Michael Lee Environmental Foundation
  • Making time in and out of the classroom for nature-based science education
    – Facilitator: Jennifer Kane,Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Communicatingthe value of nature-based education inside the school community
    –Facilitator: Curt Riffle,David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Finding the resources to offer nature-based education equitably across a district
    –Facilitator: Ash McNeely, Sand Hill Foundation

Resources for Schools: Spotlight #2 on Innovative Local Solutions

  • Los Altos Living Classroom: How Little School Gardens Can Make a Big Impact
    – Vicki Moore,Founder, Los Altos Living Classroom
  • Walden West: The Power of Getting Outdoors
    – Anita Parsons, Director, Environmental Education, Santa Clara County Office of Education
  • Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership: Creating Stewardship through Science-based Environmental Education– <Halo Shapiro Smart, Teacher/Coordinator, and Linda Rascon, Student

Resources for Districts: Spotlight #3 on Innovative Local Solutions

  • State of California’s Education in Environment Initiative (EEI): Providing Top-notch Environmental Curriculum for All Grades
    – Roni Java, Environmental Education Specialist, Office of Education and the Environment, CalEPA and Cal recycle
  • Environmental Education and Nature-Based Learning Certificate of Achievement: A New Accreditation for Teachers— Julie Phillips, Morgan Family Chair, De Anza Environmental Studies Department.
  • North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference
    Oct. 10-13, 2012, Oakland, CA