Green Schools Academy

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Green Schools Conference & Expo – Get Involved!

  Volunteer and attend the conference for free!  The conference is looking for 15 to 20 volunteers to assist the conference with wayfinding and education session monitoring. This is a great opportunity to help out, and also be able to attend the conference free of charge! Volunteers are required to volunteer for one shift of […]

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Green & Healthy Schools Academy Celebrates 2014 Accomplishments

The Green & Healthy Schools Academy (GHSA) helps schools become engaging, inspiring, and thriving places where students and staff can reach their full potential. Its work is critical to pursuing GBA’s vision that “everyone from every socioeconomic background is able to live, work, learn, and play in healthy and high-performing places.” In 2014, GHSA added workshops […]

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What I Learned at the Inspire Speakers Series

April’s Inspire Speakers Series was filled with storytelling, adventures, youth voices, and music!  Dr. John Francis, Patty DeMarco, Mike Schiller, and students from the Environmental Charter School had the audience enthralled from start to finish. We were even treated to some banjo-strumming by John Francis himself, a perfect complement to the Chiodi Trio’s banjo music […]

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What I Learned from The Inspire Speakers Series

After each Inspire Speakers Series lecture, a group of participants from GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy attends a private workshop with that month’s national speaker.  In March, members of the Academy attended Bob Berkebile’s lecture on Thursday night and then gathered with him at the CCI Center on Friday morning. Amber Simcic is the […]

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Green & Healthy Schools Academy Profile: Spectrum Charter School

Spectrum Charter School is one of nine schools/school districts participating in the inaugural class of GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy (GHSA).  Located in Monroeville, Spectrum has been serving 13- to 21-year-old students since 1999. The school’s mission is to meet the needs of students who do not learn well in typical classroom settings due […]

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Reflections from the Healthy Schools – Healthy Children Conference

I just returned from the Healthy Schools – Healthy Children Conference in Philadelphia and am all atwitter with excitement from hearing great speakers and meeting interesting people.  The event was organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, and included a keynote speech by Claire Barnett of the Healthy […]

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Workshop with David Sobel: Program Development Based on Childhood and Nature Design Principles

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“Give children a chance to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” –David Sobel

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Green Building Alliance’s Green Schools Academy and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are very exciting to present this workshop with David Sobel, the “father of place-based education.”  It is a great opportunity to work closely with David and other local environmental educators in an intimate setting at the beautiful and inspiring Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

About the Workshop
The seven Children and Nature Design Principles are Special Places, Adventure, Fantasy, Small Worlds, Hunting and Gathering, Animal Allies and Maps and Paths. These design principles are based on recurrent play patterns in childhood, and can serve as ways to rethink programming and exhibitry at your organizations and schools. This workshop is excellent for environmental educators interested in discovering ways to construct new and innovative approaches to:

  • Curriculum design in schools,
  • Program design for summer and vacation camps, nature center programming and even birthday parties, or
  • Exhibit design in your education centers, museums, and institutions.

We’ll look at examples of applying the design principles in school and outside of school. Then we’ll all work on a design challenge—using the design principles to do program design in the local setting. Finally, in small groups, we’ll use the principles to innovate your approach to curriculum or a program you need to design in your personal or professional life.

Program participants are encouraged to come prepared with a design challenge, and to think about the workshop more like a design charrette. Examples of possible design challenges include:

  • We want to do a program on connecting children to local forests
  • We want to do more programming focused on educating about global warming with local schools
  • We want to install a new nature play area at our environmental center
  • We want to connect better with the African American community regarding getting kids outside
  • We have a vacation week camp in February and we want to redesign the program focused on tracking animals
  • We’re developing a new exhibit at the zoo and the main objective is getting young children and parents interacting with live animals

Teams of more than one individual from each organization/school are encouraged, however individuals can still attend.

Upon registration, attendees will receive materials in order to adequately prepare their design challenge for the workshop.

Attendance is very limited, so please register ASAP.

About David Sobel

David Sobel, a celebrated educator and writer who advances and promotes the philosophy of place-based education. By helping to establish the reciprocal relationships between our environments, our schools and our communities, David teaches us an educational approach that enhances student achievement, revitalizes our schools and communities, and promotes human and ecological health. David has a very long list of accomplishments, including:

  • Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University New England
  • Consults and speaks widely on child development and place-based education to schools, environmental organizations, and the National Park Service
  • Has authored seven books and more than 60 articles on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists, and school administrators
  • Was recognized as one of the Daring Dozen educational leaders in the United States in 2007 by Edutopia magazine
  • Has served on the editorial boards of:
    • Encounter
    • Community Works Journal
    • Orion

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Green Schools Academy Profile: An Interview with the Team at The Environmental Charter School

The Environmental Charter School (ECS) in Pittsburgh’s East End was developed with a mission to educate students to high academic learning standards while using a curriculum that fosters knowledge, love of and respect for the environment, and the will to preserve that environment for future generations.  This focus made the K-8 school a perfect match […]

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