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Read the latest news about the Center for Ecoliteracy here.

Current News

  • Making the Case for Healthy, Freshly Prepared School Meals

    March 2014

    The Center for Ecoliteracy announces new tools for demonstrating to decision makers that high-quality, appealing school meals contribute importantly to academic achievement and student health - and can also be good for district finances. A downloadable PDF summarizes extensive research, documents public support, and cites nutrition services successes. A companion PowerPoint presentation is designed to be adapted and customized for use with different audiences.

  • New Recipes Scaled for School Meals

    November 2013

    To support innovative menus using fresh ingredients, we offer new downloadable recipes, scaled and tested for quantities of 50 and 100. The collection includes some favorite dishes from our popular cookbook Cooking with California Food in K-12 Schools, as well as new recipes featuring pasta, wraps, and salads, plus rice bowl dishes in five flavor profiles. For easy implementation, we provide meal plan contributions, NutriKids nutrition analysis, serving size, and recipe yields for all the recipes.

  • Latest Book from Fritjof Capra

    November 2013

    Fritjof Capra's new book, Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius (2013: Berrett-Koehler), shows how Leonardo's quest to understand the nature of life produced revolutionary insights that can reconnect us to the living Earth today. He describes more than 40 discoveries that span fields from geology to aerodynamics and weren't rediscovered for centuries. In an essay discussing the book, Capra reminds us how much Leonardo can still teach us.

  • Against All Odds: School Gardens Bloom in West Contra Costa

    November 2013

    With help from the Center for Ecoliteracy, a grassroots collaborative of educators, community members, and students is creating successful garden programs in challenging settings. A rubble-strewn lot is reborn as a haven where children work, play, learn, and dream. Garden classrooms are also sources for affordable, healthy food in underserved neighborhoods. CEL communications coordinator Alice Lee Tebo documents the achievements of West County DIGS (Developing Instructional Gardens in the Schools).

  • Center Honors Food Service Innovators

    November 2013

    The Center for Ecoliteracy has presented its California Food for California Kids 2013 Leadership Award to Rodney Taylor, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for the Riverside Unified School District. It has also presented California Food for California Kids 2013 Innovation Awards to six districts from around the state. The awards, part of the Center's California Food for California Kids initiative, were announced November 14 in Palm Springs at "Celebrating California Food and Cultures," our pre-conference event at the California School Nutrition Association's annual meeting. The awards recognize the leadership of nutrition services directors and districts in advancing the movement to incorporate fresh, seasonal food in school meals.

  • Hope Is What We Become in Action: A Conversation with Fritjof Capra and Frances Moore Lappe

    September 2013

    "Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up," writes David W. Orr. This newsletter features people putting that belief into practice. "Hope Is What We Become in Action" is adapted from a conversation between Fritjof Capra and Frances Moore Lappe at the Center's Becoming Ecoliterate seminar in June. They discuss how an ecological perspective can transform feelings of separateness, stasis, and scarcity into action that strengthens connection, continuous change, and co-creation.

  • A School-to-Farm Cycling Adventure

    September 2013

    How did you spend your summer? 2013 college graduates Lake Buckley and Caitrin Hall bicycled from New York to California to explore being active in the world by meeting small-scale farmers, especially women. Energetic, engaged farmers showed them how challenging the work is, the importance of "women in agriculture" networks, and what's needed to create a viable, just food system.

  • Dispatch from San Francisco: Ecoliteracy for All

    September 2013

    Center for Ecoliteracy communications coordinator Alice Lee Tebo describes San Francisco Unified School District's sustainability movement, which aims to promote student ecoliteracy and reduce the district's environmental footprint. It uses as guiding principles the five Ecoliterate practices from the Center for Ecoliteracy's book "Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence."

  • Rethinking School Lunch Guide for the iPad

    September 2013

    The Center's acclaimed Rethinking School Lunch Guide is now available free for the Apple iPad. The Guide is a planning framework that provides ideas and strategies for changing school meal programs, discovering innovative solutions to the challenges of reinventing school food, and making the case for change.

  • A Celebration of California Food & Culture

    September 2013

    The Center for Ecoliteracy will convene California leaders in school food change for a one-day pre-conference workshop before the 2013 California School Nutrition Association Conference in Palm Springs. Our third annual California Food for California Kids Conference, complimentary to participants, features hands-on cooking, exploration of best practices, and practical resources.

  • October 24 is Food Day

    September 2013

    Join the Center in celebrating Food Day, a nationwide recognition of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies.

  • Oak Woodland Activity: Resilience Design Lessons

    May 2013

    In this activity, students examine features of resilience and vulnerability within a natural ecosystem, utilizing a striking mural that illustrates relationships in the oak woodland. They gain a deeper understanding of how natural systems survive over time in order to apply this knowledge to creating more resilient human communities.

  • Design a Resilient Community

    May 2013

    Much of this month's newsletter relates to "embracing sustainability as a community practice," one of five ecoliterate practices described in our latest book, Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence. The downloadable "Designing a Resilient Community" activity includes extensive resources for instructors and students for project-based learning in which students assess their community's ability to respond to crises that threaten both natural and human systems, and then generate ideas for redesigning their community to be more resilient.

  • See Resources for School Change

    March 2013

    Want to bring change to your school community? The Change section of the Center's website includes ideas and links to resources for "Five Steps to Becoming Smart by Nature," "School Food," "Whole School Change," "School Gardens," "Greening the Campus," "Changing the Curriculum," and "Leadership and Systems Change."

Recent News

  • Discussion Guide: New Film ELEMENTAL

    May 2013

    ELEMENTAL delivers a provocative portrait of modern environmental activism through the story of eco-warriors from India, Canada, and Australia who are confronting some of the most pressing challenges of our time. The Center's downloadable Discussion Guide and conversation cards offer discussion ideas, reflective exercises, and action projects for engaging high school or college-level students. The Center for Ecoliteracy is cosponsoring a showing of ELEMENTAL at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA at 6:30 Tuesday, June 4, with a post-screening Q & A with director Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and CEL director of communications Lisa Bennett.

  • Eyes-Wide-Open Hope: A Perspective from Frances Moore Lappe

    May 2013

    In response to the Boston Marathon bombings in her home city, Frances Moore Lappé asks, "How do we know the difference between head-in-the-sand hope and eyes-wide-open hope? One is a killer; the other, a life-giver." For her, "'hope' has nothing to do with wishful thinking; it is a stance toward life we can choose and actively cultivate. It relies on a special type of humility that flows from what I love to call an eco-mind."

  • Center for Ecoliteracy at Childhood Obesity Conference

    May 2013

    Center for Ecoliteracy executive director Zenobia Barlow moderates a panel at the Seventh Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference, to be held in Long Beach, CA June 18-20. The panel, featuring leaders from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and TomKat Charitable Trust, presents plans for the integration of food systems reform and education innovations at OUSD through a central kitchen, urban farm, and education center, as proposed in the Center's Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study. The conference is the nation's largest gathering of professionals dedicated to combating pediatric obesity.

  • On Dolphins, Young People & Unintended Consequences: A Conversation with Biologist Dave Phillips

    April 2013

    Several items in this month's newsletter relate to "anticipating unintended consequences," one of five ecoliterate practices described in our latest book, Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence. In our featured interview, Earth Island Institute executive director Dave Phillips discusses helping young people make connections such as the link between the dolphins performing in aquarium shows and amusement parks and the fate of thousands of other dolphins around the world: "We're helping to pull back the veil so people can see the effect of the choices they make."

  • Downloadable Lesson: Algae Bloom and Bust

    April 2013

    Everyday human actions, from turning on a light switch to farming practices, ultimately have consequences for the health of natural ecosystems and the humans who depend on them. In this experiment-based lesson, students examine the effects on aquatic ecosystems of higher temperatures and excess nutrients resulting from climate change and the ways we do agriculture and waste management.

  • Photo Essay: Not Your Ordinary First-Grade Ocean Project

    April 2013

    This photo-essay illustrates the story that opens the Center's recent book Ecoliterate: A striking lesson by first-grade teacher Joan Wright-Albertini brings home for her students the impact of unintended consequences, why taking care of nature is important, and how empathy for other living beings develops.

  • Lisa Bennett to Deliver Keynote at Education Conference May 4

    April 2013

    Center communications director Lisa Bennett will deliver the keynote address at Ecoliteracy for All, the San Francisco Unified School District's First Annual Educator's Conference for preK-12 teachers, administrators, garden coordinators, and other school community members focused on environmental and sustainability education. The district is using the Center's book Ecoliterate this year as a professional development resource.

  • Apply Now for CEL's June Seminar

    April 2013

    Biologist Dave Phillips and teacher Joan Wright-Albertini, both featured in this month's newsletter, join a distinguished group of presenters including Fritjof Capra, Frances Moore Lappe, Jeannette Armstrong, and Chris Jordan for our Becoming Ecoliterate seminar June 24 - 28. The residential seminar, based on our book Ecoliterate, includes dialogue with engaged colleagues; hands-on experience with techniques for applying ecoliterate practices in school communities; and professional development that links emotional, social, and ecological intelligence.

  • Frances Moore Lappé to Speak at CEL Seminar

    March 2013

    Frances Moore Lappé, author of 18 books, including Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind, will join an outstanding group of presenters for the Center's Becoming Ecoliterate seminar this June. The residential seminar, based on our recent book Ecoliterate, explores a new model of education connecting emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. Other presenters include Fritjof Capra, Okanagan educator and activist Jeannette Armstrong, artist Chris Jordan, and gifted teachers.

  • New USDA Snack Rule: Please Comment

    March 2013

    Two out of three elementary school students (and a higher percentage of high school students) in the US can currently purchase candy bars, chips, sodas, and other junk food on campus. The USDA has released a proposed rule requiring that all foods sold during the school day meet the nutrition requirements of the national breakfast and lunch programs. "Smart Snacks in School" is the first time the federal government has sought to regulate sales from vending machines, school stores, and cafeteria a la carte lines. The USDA is receiving comments through April 9.

  • June Ecoliterate Seminar: Apply Now!

    February 2013

    June 24 - 28: How can educators help students respond creatively to the environmental crises they see around them? This residential seminar, based on the Center's recent book Ecoliterate, explores a new model of education connecting emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. Outstanding seminar presenters include Fritjof Capra, Okanagan educator and activist Jeannette Armstrong, acclaimed artist Chris Jordan, students from the New Orleans Rethinkers group, and many more.

  • A Conversation with Linda Booth Sweeney

    February 2013

    "If you cut a cow in half, do you get two cows?" Even very young children can grasp basic principles of living systems, says educator Linda Booth Sweeney. In this interview with CEL director of communications Lisa Bennett, Sweeney shares some of her innovative techniques and lessons for helping children see beyond the obvious, experience connections, and learn to make better decisions.

  • CEL to Present at National Meetings

    February 2013

    The Center for Ecoliteracy will offer presentations based on our book Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) on February 28 in Philadelphia and to the annual ASCD conference March 16 in Chicago.

  • Jobs in a Biotic Community: Downloadable Lesson

    February 2013

    In this activity, students learn that organisms in a natural environment, like members of a human community, have different roles and depend on each other for survival. Students examine a study area and conduct a census to identify the organisms that live there and how the ecological jobs ("niches") they fill correspond to many of the roles of people in their community.

  • Rethinking School Lunch Minneapolis

    January 2013

    You know you're onto something when teens begin spontaneously promoting the school lunch. That's what happened after Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis Public Schools' director of nutrition services, launched a campaign to bring back real food in school meals. Using the Center's Rethinking School Lunch framework, he inaugurated a five-year plan in 2012 to remake nutrition services. Already, participation is up, kids love several new dishes, waste is down, and staff members report "an incredible behavioral change" in the cafeteria.

  • Download: Lunch Survey Lesson

    January 2013

    In this lesson, students investigate the factors involved in planning school menus and then survey their peers about suggestions for improving the meal program. They practice skills in interviewing and research and learn how change occurs in communities, while helping to support healthful eating.

  • Save New Dates for Our "Ecoliterate" Seminar

    January 2013

    Now scheduled for June 25-28, our four-day residential seminar is based on "Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence," the book we recently coauthored with psychologist and bestselling author Daniel Goleman. The seminar will include presentations by leading educators profiled in the book and hands-on engagement in educational practices that widen empathy for all of life, embrace social intelligence, and apply ecological consciousness to current events.

  • Downloadable Lesson: Food Traditions Interview

    November 2012

    Students interview an elder or someone from another culture to learn about the role of foods in different communities, times, or places. This gives them broader insight for thinking critically about their own food choices. The downloadable PDF includes suggestions for setting up the interview, sample questions, and ideas for extending the lesson.

  • Excerpt from ECOLITERATE: Taking a Power Trip

    November 2012

    This excerpt from our book "Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence" tells the story of a field trip organized by a Spartanburg, South Carolina teacher to bring home to students the connection between their use of electricity and the impact of mountaintop removal coal mining on distant human communities and the natural environment. The story demonstrates how the practices identified in Ecoliterate - above all, "making the invisible visible" - can be applied to create powerful learning experiences.

  • A Huge Victory for School Food in Oakland

    November 2012

    An overwhelming 83.65 percent of Oakland, California voters supported Measure J on the November 6 ballot, authorizing $475 million in bonds to improve school facilities. About $40 million is intended for kitchen and dining facilities, following recommendations from the Center's Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study that were adopted in the district's Facilities Master Plan. CEL executive director Zenobia Barlow cochaired the Yes on Measure J effort. Cochair Ruth Woodruff describes here how concern for feeding children brought together people from widely differing backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, and cultures to build the community support needed to pass the measure.

  • New CEL Seminar: June 18-21, 2013

    November 2012

    Mark your calendars now: Our next seminar, building on our new book ECOLITERATE, is scheduled for June 18-21, 2013. Look for more details in early 2013.

  • New Center for Ecoliteracy Resources

    October 2012

    The Center for Ecoliteracy celebrates National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, with the release of several new online resources. In keeping with our strategy of working at multiple levels of scale from the local to the international, these resources are especially directed to our home state, California. We hope that they will provide ideas and inspiration for incorporating fresh, seasonal food in school meals while promoting local and regional economies and agriculture anywhere.

  • Rethinking School Lunch: 10 Things You Can Do

    October 2012

    Do you want to take the next step to improve your district's meal program? Here are ten ideas.

  • LAUSD's New Procurement System

    October 2012

    The Los Angeles Unified School District's Nutrition Services Division is attracting nationwide interest in its completely revamped system for buying food, which is helping to improve meal quality, contain costs, change attitudes toward school food, and support regional agriculture. Read what they've done.

  • New Report: Are California Kids Eating California Food?

    October 2012

    A new Center report, "Are California Kids Eating California Food: Discovering Opportunities for Improving School Meals," examines 12 important California crops and purchasing by six school districts in the forefront of food service innovation. The report shows that the immense bounty of California agriculture creates great opportunities that the schools have yet to take advantage of.

  • The Center's Expanding Media Coverage

    October 2012

    Center for Ecoliteracy projects and programs have been garnering recent media attention across the country, including reviews and radio interviews following the release of Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence; articles in Huffington Post and Grist; and coverage of our California Food for California Kids initiative, featuring our successful statewide conference in September and our work with Oakland Unified School District. Keep up with the latest by following "CEL in the News" on our website.

  • New eBook Edition of the Center's "Ecological Literacy"

    October 2012

    Sierra Club Books has released the Center's Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World as an eBook, available in most formats from online booksellers and bookstores with eBook capacity. Ecological Literacy features seminal essays by David W. Orr, Fritjof Capra, Wendell Berry, Donella Meadows, Jeannette Armstrong, and many more, with stories of some of the most significant projects supported by the Center. Michael Pollan called Ecological Literacy "highly original... The best book of its kind." Richard Louv says it "should be required reading for every education policymaker."

  • Photo-Essay: A Garden Grows in Juvenile Hall

    September 2012

    A narrow concrete courtyard at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) is being transformed into a sanctuary of solace and hope with the help of the Center for Ecoliteracy. In this photo-essay, communications coordinator Alice Lee Tebo describes how a new program at the JJC is using gardening to bring life to a barren space while integrating nutrition education and environmental justice into the curriculum and helping students learn to be more compassionate and empathetic.

  • The Five Ecoliterate Practices

    September 2012

    How can you help students cultivate emotional, social, and ecological intelligence? This excerpt from the Center's new book ECOLITERATE presents five vital practices that allow students to strengthen and extend their capacities to live sustainably. The practices are described in depth in the book, with ideas for employing them in professional development and incorporating them in teaching and learning.

  • Downloadable Resource: "Creating Gardens of Goodness"

    September 2012

    In collaboration with Annie's foods, the Center for Ecoliteracy has developed a downloadable booklet for parents and teachers, "Creating Gardens of Goodness." The guide, coauthored by Carolie Sly, CEL education program director, and Benjamin Eichorn, founder of Grow Your Lunch, provides detailed advice for designing, creating, and maintaining five types of educational gardens: windowsill gardens; vertical gardens; raised beds and container gardens; cold frames, tunnels, and greenhouses; and large-scale gardens. The guide contains everything from advantages and disadvantages of each type of garden to materials checklists and harvesting instructions.

  • November Oakland Ballot: Food Service Facilities

    September 2012

    Measure J on the November 6 ballot in Oakland, California calls for a bond measure to fund $475 million in upgrades for facilities in the Oakland Unified School District. Among the projects the bond measure is intended to fund are renovation of school kitchens, creation of new school-community kitchens, and a new central commissary, all of which were recommended in the Center for Ecoliteracy's yearlong Rethinking School Lunch Feasibility Study and were incorporated in the Facilities Master Plan adopted by the board of education in May.

  • CEL Offers Cooking Classes for Local Districts

    August 2012

    Cooking classes offered this summer by the Center for food service staffs in local districts have garnered accolades and media attention. The classes are based on the Center's cookbook and professional development guide, Cooking with California Food in K-12 Schools, which introduces the concept of the dynamic 6-5-4 School Lunch Matrix, based on six dishes students know and love, five ethnic flavor profiles, and four seasons.

  • Excerpt from ECOLITERATE, On Sale This Week

    August 2012

    A tender and exquisitely planned teachable moment opens our new book, ECOLITERATE, coauthored by renowned psychologist and bestselling author Daniel Goleman and the Center's Lisa Bennett and Zenobia Barlow. ECOLITERATE introduces an integration of emotional, social, and ecological intelligence that advances student success and helps engage young people in today's ecological challenges. It offers inspiring stories of educators and other leaders from the Arctic to Appalachia and New Mexico to New Orleans who are using these capacities to creatively address food, water, and energy issues. Reviewers are calling the book "powerful," "eloquent," "a treasure," and "urgently important."

  • CEL Chapter in New Book from Netherlands

    August 2012

    Center senior editor Michael K. Stone and executive director Zenobia Barlow contributed a chapter to Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change, a new book from Wageningen Academic Publishers with contributors from around the world. The Center's chapter explores "Living Systems, Sustainability Education, and Institutional Change."

  • An Interview: Rethinking School Lunch Oakland

    August 2012

    In an interview on the Edible Schoolyard Project website, Zenobia Barlow and Michael Stone discuss the Center's Rethinking School Lunch planning framework and its application in the year-long Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study for the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Major recommendations of the feasibility study were incorporated into the OUSD Facilities Master Plan in May.

  • Sustainability Education Institute, Washington in July

    June 2012

    The Center for Ecoliteracy is cosponsoring the fourth annual Sustainability Education Summer Institute July 23-25 on beautiful Bainbridge Island in Washington. The Institute offers an inspiring array of workshops and keynote presentations at the breathtaking 255-acre IslandWood campus. CEL's Lisa Bennett and Carolie Sly will offer presentations based on our book Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence.

  • Coming in August: Our New Book ECOLITERATE

    June 2012

    "At times of instability in a system - be it a school, a nation, or the biosphere - there is always the possibility of breakthrough to new forms and ways of thinking and acting. In these times of instability - in our schools, our nation, and our biosphere - this book reflects our core belief that educators are ideally situated to lead a breakthrough to a new and enlivening ecological sensibility for the twenty-first century." Our book by Daniel Goleman, Center communications director Lisa Bennett, and executive director Zenobia Barlow debuts in August.   

  • Migrating the Food Lab: From Davenport to Pescadero

    June 2012

    School lunch scholar Janet Poppendieck calls the Food Lab program in Davenport, California "the most complete integration of course-based food preparation and school food I've seen." Cooking from scratch, fifth- and sixth-graders prepare high-quality, delicious lunches for the whole school every day. Senior editor Michael K. Stone explores Food Lab, its accomplishments, and the adaptation of the spirit of the program in a new setting with a different set of challenges and opportunities.

  • Center for Ecoliteracy Article in SONOMA Magazine

    June 2012

    The summer issue of SONOMA Magazine features an article on school food reform, "The New School Food: Plant it Grow it Eat it Learn it," by the Center's Michael K. Stone. The issue will be on the streets June 20 and accessible on the magazine's website.

  • Oakland School Board Adopts Our Recommendations

    June 2012

    In May, the Board of Education of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) unanimously adopted a new district Facilities Master Plan. The 2012 Master Plan incorporates all the facilities-related recommendations of the Center for Ecoliteracy's yearlong Rethinking School Lunch Feasibility Study, including a new central commissary with an adjacent farm/garden; renovation of existing kitchens; and creation of school-community kitchens with public access outside of school hours.

  • June Seminar Featuring Fritjof Capra and Richard Heinberg

    May 2012

    Join us June 20-22 for a seminar with Center cofounder Fritjof Capra on "The Systems View of Life," based on Capra's textbook for Cambridge University Press. This seminar at the David Brower Center in Berkeley will include lectures on systems thinking from biological, evolutionary, cognitive, ecological, and social perspectives, with discussions about the implications in areas from management and economics to energy, politics, health care, and education. Other presenters include Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute, author of The End of Growth and Peak Everything.

  • The Ecological Worldview

    May 2012

    In April, Center for Ecoliteracy executive director Zenobia Barlow participated by invitation in a "High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm" at the United Nations. In this essay, she explores how a greater sense of well-being, in domains from the planetary to the personal, is the outcome of adopting an ecological worldview that leads to empathy, compassionate action, and hopeful engagement.

  • Joan Halifax: Principled Compassion

    May 2012

    Activist, anthropologist, author, and Zen priest Joan Halifax addressed the high-level meeting at the United Nations attended by Zenobia Barlow. In her talk, she described steps that can be taken to cultivate "the courageous and wise qualities of mind and heart that will deliver us into a future that is characterized by relational well-being with and for all species."

  • Joanna Macy, Chris Johnstone: Active Hope

    May 2012

    The latest book by esteemed systems theorist and deep ecologist Joanna Macy, coauthored by physician and coach Chris Johnstone, is Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy (New World Library, 2012). In this excerpt they outline a process that begins in gratitude; honors our pain for the world; helps us see the web of resources available through our rootedness in a deeper, ecological self; and leads to a clarified vision of action for the healing of our world.

  • A Conversation with Richard Heinberg: You Can't Do Just One Thing

    May 2012

    Noted author, educator, and energy researcher Richard Heinberg discusses the systems view of life: "It's like seeing in 3-D and in color."

  • Center Collaborates on Award-Winning School Design

    April 2012

    Center for Ecoliteracy education program director Carolie Sly, Rainforth Grau Architects, and the Lodi Unified School District engaged for the past year and a half on design of a new STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] Academy for the district. In February, the project received an Award of Excellence from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing and the American Institute of Architects, which commended the sustainable design and clear link between physical design and curriculum.

  • Rethinking School Lunch: New Mexico

    April 2012

    Inspired by Center for Ecoliteracy executive director Zenobia Barlow, New Mexico citizens and organizations have launched a new initiative, Rethinking School Lunch New Mexico, using the planning framework of Center's Rethinking School Lunch Guide as a primary resource. Center communication coordinator Alice Lee Tebo describes the genesis of this collaboration and its ambitious vision and goals for systemic change in New Mexico.

  • The Building as Teacher

    April 2012

    "A lot of times, schools will be built in a way that's green, but it's not transparent to the kids," says Center education program director Carolie Sly. Since 2010, she's been engaged in Lodi, California with architects and educators designing a new campus that will itself teach, while supporting a hands-on sustainability curriculum. Carolie, architect John Dale, and Center senior editor Michael K. Stone discuss the ways in which the campus, teaching, and learning can reinforce (or interfere with) each other; how ideas about school design are evolving; and how the planning process can kindle more creative thinking.

  • Teaching Resource: Seasonal, Local Food

    April 2012

    The Center's curriculum guide for the PBS documentary Nourish: Food + Community offers engaging downloadable lessons and materials that can be adapted for any classroom. Do you want to teach about the cycles of the seasons and food in your area? "Seasonal, Local Food" includes activities in which students identify the features of their local "foodshed," construct Seasonal Circles to represent the farm products produced seasonally in their foodshed, and develop Local Food Resource booklets. Try one with your students today!

  • A New Partnership Strategy: School-Community Kitchens

    March 2012

    School-community kitchens are an innovative strategy for sharing resources between schools and neighborhoods to support health, improve academic achievement, enhance community vitality, and promote justice and equity. They are also a major recommendation of the Center's recent Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study. In this new paper, CEL program coordinator Jacob I. Wright explains the rationale, roots, and potential of this concept.

  • CEL Article in International Journal

    March 2012

    "Smart by Nature: Principles of Schooling for Sustainability" by Fritjof Capra and Center senior editor Michael K. Stone appears in the latest Catalan- and Spanish-language issues of Education and Sustainability, published by the Regional Centres for Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development in Barcelona.

  • Center for Ecoliteracy Cookbook Update

    March 2012

    Have you tried the Center's cookbook and professional development guide Cooking with California Food in K-12 Schools, written by Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans? Mrs. Q (AKA Sarah Wu), author of the famed Fed Up with Lunch blog and book, recently called it "amazing," "revolutionary," and "a treasure." The book, which has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Slow Food USA, and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, among other places, has been downloaded more than 20,000 times from the CEL website (available in English or Spanish).

  • New Feasibility Study on School Food Reform

    February 2012

    How to reform a school district's nutrition services to overcome systemic injustice and improve student health and academic performance? The Center for Ecoliteracy commissioned a team of experts to answer that question for the Oakland (California) Unified School District. The feasibility study, based on the Center's Rethinking School Lunch planning framework, includes findings, recommendations, timetables, and estimated expenses in ten interrelated dimensions of food service operations.

  • New Teaching Activity: Visualizing an Ecosystem

    January 2012

    The oak woodland - common in the western United States and in many areas of the world - is ideal for illustrating the complex interactions, often unnoticed by humans, that drive the survival of species in an ecosystem. This activity, based on a beautiful mural by artist Ane Carla Rovetta, helps students visualize the ecosystem, its parts, and the relationships among them. Educators who have tried this activity have asked us to make it more widely available. The downloadable activity on our website includes the mural in 15 panels, information cards, and instructions.

  • An Ethnic Twist on School Lunch

    January 2012

    Kung pao quesadillas and spaghetti tacos are just two of the creative and popular dishes on the menu in Clovis, California schools. In a new essay, CEL communications coordinator Alice Lee Tebo tells how California Endowment "Health Happens Hero" Robert Schram was inspired by our cookbook and professional development guide, Cooking with California Food in K-12 Schools. The result: an "entertaining, movable, and alive" menu featuring locally grown foods in healthy dishes that appeal to an ethnically diverse student populace.

  • CEL Resources for Food-Focused Learning

    January 2012

    Transforming the menu creates opportunities for connecting lunchrooms and classrooms. Food is a great focus for teaching and learning about culture, local history, and regional agriculture and economics; the Center offers numerous resources for making those connections. Our book, Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment provides a framework keyed to the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Our downloadable resource " Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment: A Visual Guide" points the way to an enriched school environment. Our web page "Change: School Food" links to nearly 20 more essays and resources to get you started.

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