April 11, 2024 Newsletter

As April turns the world’s focus to climate, we are reminded how climate change is tied to climate justice. STEM4Real is taking a leadership role by revolutionizing STEM education and bridging the equity gap in environmental learning. Leena Bakshi and Tashanda Giles-Jones share their journey, emphasizing the importance of representation, challenges in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the transformative power of CAELI collaborations. We also share exciting lesson plans for Earth Day, our upcoming discussions, and celebrate a member of the CAELI community!

💐 What to expect this month:
▸ STEM4Real | Equity, Inclusion, and Environmental Literacy
▸ Connecting Facilities, Operations,and Student Learning webinar
▸ A California Leadership is Nationally Recognized
▸ Opening Doors to Grant Funding
▸ Innovation Hub Webinars

STEM4Real | Equity, Inclusion, and Environmental Literacy

As our planet has warmed and new technologies are needed to combat human-made climate change, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has become more intertwined with environmental learning. This interdisciplinary learning approach focuses on critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration, which are critical to expanding new and old technologies to help in the climate fight and to prepare students for a wide range of environmental or climate careers.

STEM4Real recognizes the need to address the equity gap in STEM and support all students to excel no matter their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Last month, we sat down with Leena Bakshi, founder and executive director, and Tashanda Giles-Jones, STEM4Real’s instructional coordinator, to talk about growing representation in STEM, navigating their work in 2024, and how CAELI and collaboration have helped them succeed.

Read this month’s featured article.

Environmental Literacy: Connecting Facilities, Operations, & Student Learning

This month’s District Innovation Hub Webinar will feature how districts can connect facilities and operations to grow student learning.

Join us on Thursday, April 25 at 4 pm PST for our monthly District Innovation Hub webinar series. We will hear from districts about how they achieve sucess, followed by informal discussions to collectively learn and develop new strategies to build your fundraising capacity.

Check out our website for more information and register for the full webinar series.

California Leaders Awarded National Recognition

A warm congratulations to George Garcia, CDE education programs consultant, who was awarded the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award!

As the program lead for the California Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Award, George has been instrumental in boosting California’s environmental education programs and has helped more California schools get recognized for their efforts through the Green Ribbon Schools.

April 23 – Opening Doors to Grant Funding

The Community-Based Partner Innovation Hub and AEOE are partnering to bring ‘Building a Strong and Resilient Organization,’ a webinar series tailored to CBP program leaders. Join us for our April webinar on Tuesday, April 23 where we will share insights into how to open doors to discover new grant funding strategies.

Register for the full series to attend each month’s event. Join us on the last Tuesday of each month this spring to learn actionable strategies to help your organization grow and thrive.

  • April 23 – Funding

  • May 28 – Risk Management and Compliance

RSVP for April’s webinar or register for the full series.

RCRCD Wins Organization of the Year Award

We are pleased to announce that the 2024 Organization of the Year Award goes to the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District (RCRCD)! This award is offered in partnership with AEOE and recognizes an outstanding organization that is advancing the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California.

Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District is a local government agency that helps conserve the natural resources (soil, water, plants, and wildlife) of areas within western Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in Southern California. The District provides technical advice to land users, educational programs for the community, and conducts on-the-land conservation projects. Their impact on the community is thoughtful and far-reaching, with an over forty-year history of outreach to the deaf community and the diverse cultures in their jurisdiction. From their nomination, “RCRCD works to empower people to be stewards (caretakers) of natural resources and fosters stewardship by providing a variety of free environmental education programs, volunteer opportunities, community science activities, tours /field trips, and community engagement for all ages.”

RCRCD’s contributions will be celebrated at our Annual Statewide Conference in May. Congratulations and thank you, RCRCD! Learn more about the Organization of the Year Award and AEOE.

Innovation Hub Spotlight

CAELI’s innovation hubs represent a growing community of people dedicated to environmental literacy and outdoor education for youth. Here, we introduce one of our innovation hub members!

Opportunities, Events, and News

  • Last week before The Energy Coalition’s TEC cohort 3 internship application closes on April 12. As an energy fellow, you’ll embark on a journey of professional growth, community impact, and personal development. With responsibilities including completing ten milestones, engaging in virtual workshops, and gaining hands-on experience, this internship offers a unique chance to make a difference while honing your skills. Apply here!
  • Prepare for Earth Day 2024 (annually on April 22) with helpful lesson plans from the Resource Center for Environmental and Climate Action in K-12 Schools. The resources include lesson ideas for all subject areas and grade levels, a student leaders toolkit, and many more resources to feel prepared for Earth Day.
  • On May 3, ECCLPs will be hosting a virtual event featuring a day of immersive experiences with remarkable presenters and speakers engaging directly with students, teachers, and community members. From 9 am to 5 pm PST,  PK–12 educators can bring their students via Zoom to any segment of this live event. Register for free at ecclps.vfairs.com/.
  • Join us on May 16 for the next meeting of the California Green Ribbon Achievers and Applicants Network! Discover strategies for continuous improvement and innovation beyond the Green Ribbon framework as we support schools in achieving their sustainability goals. Register here.