News and Resources - September 2018
posted Sep 12, 2018, by Jonee Brigham [ updated Sep 13, 2018 ] [site transferred 5/8/19]
Have you signed up to express your interest in Minnesota GreenStep Schools? This is the first step to getting engaged and helps us track who is interested as we plan next steps to build the program.
Express your interest and Sign up for updates on the MN GreenStep Schools Interest Form HERE
School and Environment Organizations Expressing Support
University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment and Minnesota Design Center, have been working with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as well as Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) to further build the Minnesota GreenStep Program. This work happens within a networked community of leaders interested in green schools. We are pleased to have support for the program expressed by many organizations - read more here.
MN Green Ribbon Schools Award Applications Coming Soon
The Green Ribbon Schools Award application for Minnesota is coming soon. Keep an eye on this website to be ready.
MN GreenStep Schools was designed for strong integration with Minnesota Green Ribbon Schools and both are complementary ways to advance the environmental, health, and environmental education goals of schools. Green Ribbon recognizes a few leading schools for excellence which inspires and sets an example for other schools to emulate. MN GreenStep Schools provides a challenge, assistance, and recognition framework for greening for schools from beginners to advanced. Minnesota Green Ribbon Schools is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Education, a supporter of the MN GreenStep Schools development effort.
Environment & Equity
The work to equitably provide the benefits of green schools - economic, environmental, health, and education - is a value of the MN GreenStep Schools Program and part of its ongoing efforts. That is one reason why we seek broad involvement in the program and its planning. The other reason, is that broad involvement will help make the program better by including a range of perspectives from different communities and experiences. Here's a resource of interest at the intersection of environment and equity:
MPCA's Environmental Justice Framework LINK
This document has principles that MN GreenStep Schools draws from in its planning for equity and inclusion.
An interesting resource for schools and communities around the state is a story map associated with this work. "Understanding Environmental Justice in Minnesota." LINK
The use of GIS maps and spatial data to look for patterns and find information relevant to one's own community is a powerful tool. That's why MN GreenStep Schools will use GIS to analyze and plan for equitable engagement in the program. We will be able to map what communities are being served, what environmental, health, and environmental education resources are being utilized or needed, and respond to those needs and opportunities.
MN Department of Health Training Opportunities in September and October
Minnesota Department of Health has supported development of MN GreenStep Schools. They are offering trainings and resources that also align with the goals of MN GreenStep Schools.
Fall 2018 School Indoor Air Quality Training
Public schools must have health and safety programs that comply with health, safety, and environmental regulations and best practices, including indoor air quality (IAQ) management. One best practice is that public schools have an IAQ Coordinator. This training will discuss the state’s best practices for school IAQ management. Topics include radon, mold, chemicals, ventilation, maintenance and cleaning. School staff and service providers are encouraged to attend.
St. Cloud: September 20, 2018 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Duluth: September 21, 2018 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Marshall: October 2, 2018 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Roseville: October 10, 2018 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Webinar: October 30, 2018 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
For more information and to register
Radon testing is not required in schools but it’s highly recommended. Schools that test using LTFM funding are required to follow the state’s testing plan. School districts are required to report their radon test results to the Minnesota Department of Health and at a school board meeting. The testing plan, further guidance and reporting form are available on MDH’s site: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/schools/radonschool.html
School Health Portal: http://www.health.state.mn.us/topics/schools/index.html
For questions: Daniel Tranter, Supervisor | Indoor Air Unit, Minnesota Department of Health Office: 651-201-4618
Featured EE Resource
This is one of the environmental education resources recommended by MN GreenStep Schools. It is operated by Minnesota Association for Environmental Education, an organization expressing support for MN GreenStep Schools and we look forward to exploring collaborative opportunities together. At SEEK you can find environmental education resources, a calendar of events, a history of EE in Minnesota, and more. LINK
Place-based Environmental Education
One of the great opportunities of MN GreenStep Schools is for engaging students with their school - integrating environmental education with the other aspects of school greening such as environmental and economic savings as well as health initiatives.
This is one reason why we are partnering with Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) in planning piloting of the MN GreenStep Schools program. They've been engaging youth in learning about the environment through hands-on education improving the environmental performance of their school for many years. LINK
Finally, one of the leaders of the MN GreenStep Schools program, Jonee Brigham of the U of MN Minnesota Design Center was recently interviewed by District 43 Sen. Chuck Wiger about her work and perspectives on Environmental Education and MN GreenStep Schools.