Conservation Scientists Team up with High School Teachers to Bring Green Lessons to City Students

The Nature Conservancy and high school educators release Anthology of Urban Environmental Education in book and online format.

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LEAF Anthology

'While many resources have been invested in developing green curriculum for grades K-8, there are shockingly few resources available for high school teachers, and even fewer resources focused on urban environmental education,' said Brigitte Griswold.

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 23, 2013

A unique partnership between the world’s leading conservation non-profit and city high school teachers across the country has created, for the first time, a comprehensive tool which allows students to learn about the vital role nature plays in their urban environments.

For more than a year, teachers from green high schools in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and other large cities compiled lesson plans on such topics as health impacts of air pollution, urban water management, green city planning and how climate change is impacting cities. Scientists from The Nature Conservancy then reviewed and contributed their conservation science expertise to the lesson plans.

The LEAF (Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future) Anthology of Urban Environmental Education is now available on-line for teachers. Free downloadable lessons help educators incorporate urban environmental themes into their core curriculum and engage students in the natural world around them.

“While many resources have been invested in developing green curriculum for grades K-8, there are shockingly few resources available for high school teachers, and even fewer resources focused on urban environmental education,” said Brigitte Griswold, Director of Youth Programs at The Nature Conservancy. “With this anthology in book form and online, we are working to address this issue with the help and creativity of innovative teachers from across the nation.”

Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have been growing three times higher than other fields over the last 10 years. Green STEM professions, such as environmental science and environmental engineering, are the fastest growing projected job fields within STEM. Nearly four out of five STEM students decided to focus on this field of study in high school or earlier, which further illustrates the need for relevant environmental education during this critical age range.

Peter Kareiva, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and member of the National Academy of Sciences, called the Anthology a “powerful resource” to help urban teachers develop a pathway for students to build stronger science, technology and environmental values. “The lesson plans, developed by teachers from a growing movement of urban green high schools, offer classroom-tested ways of teaching environmental lessons and engaging teens with nature in the urban environment. Nature Conservancy scientists were thrilled to play a role in the process.”

The Conservancy supplements the lessons the students learn about their urban environments with real-world applications through paid internships to live, work and learn on a Nature Conservancy preserve. For many students, it is their first time away from their city limits and being exposed to conservation careers and practicing professionals. One third of surveyed LEAF alumni go on to pursue careers in the life sciences, nearly six times higher than the national average.

About The Nature Conservancy:
The Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading environmental conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy works with individuals, governments, local nonprofits, indigenous and traditional communities, corporations, and others to protect forests, grasslands, rivers, coral reefs and more. To date, The Nature Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at


  • Vivian Llodra
    Nature Conservancy, The
    +1 (212) 524-8054
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