CCEP green heron logo Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve

SPring 2015 Educators Newsletter


Register Now for Spring Programs

Inspiring Ideas for the Classroom


The Bunker
                    Interpretive Center

Walking trails are open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.

Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) hours

Academic year:
M–F  9 a.m.–5 p.m.

M–F  8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Closed weekends and holidays.
Admission to the trails and BIC is free.

1750 East Beltline Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 526-7600

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Register Now for Spring Programs

Spring program topics for Pre-K to 6th grade include: Sensory Adventures, Amazing Animals, Beech Maple Forest Exploration, and Wildflowers in the Spring. These programs provide information about our local ecosystem and the flora and fauna of West Michigan, encourage stewardship, and help students develop a sense of place.

Spring programs run from April 13–May 14. Programs are 90 minutes in length, and cost $3 per student. Currently, National Heritage Academy schools are eligible to attend our programs free of charge, thanks to a funding grant.

For more information visit our website, or contact Julie Wilbourn to register your class. To register, we will need your name and school, desired program topic, grade level, number of students and adults, preferred dates/times, and the best way to contact you.

Like our programs?
Tell others about us! Feel free to forward this e-mail to your colleagues, and spread the word that the best way to learn about the natural world is by spending time in it.

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Inspiring Ideas for the Classroom

Each newsletter, we will share with you some of our favorite ways to get students outside learning about the natural environment. You do not need to have forests or fields surrounding your school; school yards can work just as well for experiential learning. Our activities are hands-on, require few supplies, and are easily adaptable to meet your students’ needs. These projects offer an ideal opportunity to engage your students in the scientific process, create meaningful links to the real world, and understand the impact of our actions around the globe. Additional ideas and photos of art projects and storybooks can be found on our Pinterest page.

EARTH DAY: April 22

Since its inception 35 years ago, Earth Day has become an international movement to protect the planet and secure a sustainable future, with nearly 200 countries and hundreds of millions of people participating. Together, activists of all ages have performed one billion acts of green! You've probably heard about many great ways to celebrate earth day in a school setting – creating a garden, starting a recycling program, holding an Earth Day fair, making compost, or repurposing “trash” into art projects. Below, we present some curriculum websites and campaigns about Earth Day issues that you may not have come across yet.


Wondering how to decide which lesson plan to choose? Pick a topic you're passionate about, ask your students what issue they want to learn more about, or choose a theme that's close to home/impacts West Michigan!

National Education Association has a wonderful list of Earth Day curriculum resources (lesson plans and classroom activities by grade), as well as links to even more Environmental Education Activities & Resources.

Nature Conservancy has beautifully produced educational videos and accompanying lesson plans on a variety of environmental issues. Their Nature Rocks website is another great resource for children's eco-friendly activities that you can filter by time commitment, age group, preferred location, and weather conditions.

Earth Day Network produces curriculum for all grade levels that are designed to be integrated into other subject areas.

ReadWriteThink's Celebrate Earth Day page has a classroom activity to learn about environmentalists in the Ecology Hall of Fame, links to informative websites, and several lesson plans for both lower and upper elementary students.

ScienceNetLinks' Earth Day page has dozens of well-written lesson plans on an array of environmental topics that you can filter by grade.


Green Education Foundation's National Idling Reduction Campaign and Earth Day Network's No Idling Campaign incorporate both lesson plans to understand how particulates in exhaust from school buses and cars harm the environment, and easy-to-use toolkits to become an idle-free school.

Crayon Collection - this organization's mission is simple: collect as many crayons as possible and donate them to kids in need. Did you know billions of crayons are produced in the U.S. each year, and much of that ends up in our landfills? These petroleum-derived crayons can take years, even decades, to decompose. Meanwhile, U.S. teachers in underfunded public schools are spending an average of $750 of their own income per year on supplies for their classrooms. They offer a quick how-to guide for collecting, including a link to find schools in need, right in your neighborhood. Start collecting at home and at school, and don't forget those crayons you're given at family restaurants!

ColorCycle - this is Crayola's marker recycling initiative. Just take four easy steps to become an Eco-Cool School - inform, collect, pack and ship (Crayola even pays the shipping fees). They also offer lesson plans and activities to enrich participation in the program.

The Catalog Canceling Challenge was started by a fourth grade class at The Park School in Massachusetts. To date, over 9,500 students in 23 states have canceled over 80,000 catalogs, saving 1,400 trees, 1.4 million gallons of water, and CO2 equal to taking 16 cars off the road. Students do their canceling at home by calling the 1-800 number on the back of each unwanted catalog, or by using the free online service Catalog Choice. The website has an organizer pack with instructions to get started, and even lesson ideas.

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