smallFrom the freedom to explore comes the joy of learning.  From knowledge acquired by personal initiative arises the desire for more knowledge.  And from the mastery of the novel and beautiful world awaiting every child comes self-confidence.”

This quote by E.O. Wilson headed a recent message to NAAEE members and supporters from NAAEE CEO (and NAEE Fellow) Judy Braus.  This is how she begins:

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having lunch with my former entomology and ornithology professor, Don Messersmith.  At 90 years old, Don hasn’t lost a bit of his spunk in his 63 years of teaching.  He still has the same dry wit and deep passion for birds and bugs.  But he is desperately worried about the global decline of not just these creatures, but all life on earth.  “My children and grandchildren are facing a bleak future unless people truly understand what’s at stake. When a species disappears—that’s it.  You can’t go back!  And when hundreds of species disappear, the very systems that support all of us are threatened.” …

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This year, NAAEE has received 178 applications for its EE 30 Under 30 programme which is a 24 percent increase on 2018, and, more than half of the applicants are from outside North America (up from 35 percent outside last year).   Since 2016, the program has recognized 90 individuals from around the world who are making a difference through environmental education.  There’s a EE 30 Under 30 YouTube playlist where you can hear from some alumni.  Please contact Nina Hamilton nina@naaee.org with any questions

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Welcome to SOS-UK.  The NUS sustainability team is moving to a new charity, SOS-UK, and there are introductory webinars to allow the sharing of plans, the answering of questions, and the absorption of new ideas.  The webinars are on: 14 June 2019 13:00 and 24 June 2019 09:15.  If you can’t make these, a recording will be available on the NUS Sustainability website soon afterwards. To join the event, use this link.

SOS-UK will remain part of the NUS family, but will have independent governance. It will be running its existing programmes and campaigns in 2019/20, and you can sign-up for these here if you haven’t already done so.
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MEEN‘s next Eco Schools Green Teach Meet is on Thursday 13th June 2019 at Medlock Primary school Wadeson Rd, Manchester M13 9UJ [3.45 to 6.30].  Medlock Primary will be sharing their eco work and give a tour of the school.  This will be followed by a session focusing on air pollution with speakers from Russell Scott Primary and Clean Air Levenshulme.  There’s also a session with colleagues from the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, Biffa and Wigan Council on waste and recycling. Please bring your questions and any issues you might have as they will have a wealth of knowledge to share.  Contact coordinator@meen.org.uk if you would like to be there.

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The GA is running Critical Thinking for Achievement summer schools with the Field Studies Council.  These will be focusing on critical thinking pedagogies and exploring opportunities to apply critical thinking to fieldwork.  Dates / locations are:

– 19 to 21 July at FSC Castle Head, Cumbria
– 23 to 25 August at FSC Flatford Mill, Essex

Contact the FSC Schools Team to book your free place and find out more.

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The University of Surrey will be the venue for the 2020 GA conference: Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 April.  The conference theme is Geography really matters!

Gill Miller, GA President, says “I am setting our geographical community a challenge: undertake one activity in 2019-20 to show that geography really matters! It may be a letter to an MP or a government minister; a presentation to a school governing body; a group response to a local/national/global issue; a social media blog or vlog extolling the virtues of geography; a school-based activity …  Now is the time to take practical action to tell the world how important geography is and how much it really does matter.”

Click here to see the advance publicity for the conference, and to find out how to submit proposals.

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The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust reports that a group of private landowners and nature conservation organisations are working to bring the native white stork back to South East England for the first time in hundreds of years. These large birds are symbolic of rebirth and evidence suggests that they were once widely distributed here. There have been many sightings in South East England over recent years, but conservationists identified that the species would need a helping hand to re-establish a breeding population in Britain.  The White Stork Project aims to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs in southern England by 2030 through a phased release programme over the next five years.  More detail (and great pics) here.

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Go WILD this June say The Wildlife Trusts.  They are challenging us to do something a little bit wild every day: that’s 30 Days of simple Random Acts of Wildness. There’s a free pack to help plan a wild month, plus ideas from your Wildlife Trust to keep us wild all throughout June (and beyond!).

30 Days Wild is in its fifth year, with hundreds of thousands of people involved across the UK.  You can Sign up! here.

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The Solar Bee Project is an initiative funded by the Naturesave Trust that aims to protect honey bees from the deadly varroa mite using thermosolar beehive technology.  The project is being rolled out over five sites across the country and aims to prove the effectiveness of using the power of the sun to protect honey bees from a parasite that has been damaging bee populations across the globe.   The Thermosolar hives have been located on community solar farms as part of a further initiative to highlight the biodiversity potential of these sites and the benefit of producing honey alongside renewable energy.  More details here.

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Geographical notes that a study of the activity of aphids, moths, butterflies and birds has revealed some surprising aspects of the UK’s ever-earlier spring.  It says that while it’s no secret that spring is now starting earlier, exactly how, why and where this is happening is a much more complex question.  Using 50 years worth of observations of UK aphids, moths, butterflies and birds a group of researchers led by Dr James Bell of the Rothamsted Insect Survey, has tried to answer some of these questions.

In part, the results confirm current understanding but this early awakening isn’t uniform across species and the degree of change depends on location and habitat.  More details here.

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The latest edition of the IUCN Newsletter Off the Shelf is available here.  It includes a range of new publications.

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We’ll finish this week with two more quotes from E.O. Wilson (c/o Judy Braus):

“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.  The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.”

“The loss of a keystone species is like a drill accidentally striking a power line.  It causes lights to go out all over.”