Sustainable Pathways

Investigate and increase biodiversity at school and beyond A wide diversity of species—animals, plants, and other living things—is the key to a healthy, functioning ecosystem. From our schoolyard habitats to our own backyard, whether in the United States or around the world, we can work to increase biodiversity.

Analyze and measure effective ways to conserve water Basic water efficiency programs can reduce a school's water use by 30 percent or more. Schools can investigate and propose strategies to improve irrigation methods, reduce surface runoff, consume fresh water more efficiently, and water reuse technologies.

Improve climate literacy and investigate climate change solutions Schools are engaging in fact-based science investigations around Earth's climate problems. They are reducing their carbon footprints, and through collaboration are designing resilience and mitigation solutions to the ongoing climate crisis.

Moving beyond the "3 Rs" A school can reduce its environmental impact by analyzing the full life cycle of the products it uses. Decreasing consumption and reducing packaging as well as finding new uses for old materials, all translate into smaller amounts of waste being hauled away.

Analyze and measure effective ways to conserve energy Schools are the largest energy consumers in many municipalities. But up to 30 percent of that energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. Schools can significantly cut energy use, resulting in financial savings and reduced environmental impact, while engaging in science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

Promote a healthy lifestyle while connecting to the natural world Time spent outdoors, physically active, and engaged in unstructured play is perhaps the best possible prescription to ensure a lifetime of good health. Identify and establish strategies that engage the entire school community in opportunities to unplug and engage in outdoor experiences and adventures.

Find relationships between human health and the building and grounds Eliminating toxic and hazardous materials, while maximizing elements that promote health, will improve the learning environment for students and staff. Raise awareness and collaborate with building and district staff on strategies to improve upon current methods used to maintain the inside and outside of the school.

Design, develop and maintain an outdoor learning laboratory Research has demonstrated that in all discipline areas, students who are given the opportunity to directly engage in outdoor education and experiential learning have been able to significantly increase their capacity for learning.

Improve food education and nutrition opportunities at school Food choices have a big impact on health, the learning day and the environment. A campaign focused on food sustainability can help you make nutritious, fresh, local and whole foods a part of the culture within the school and community.

Outline alternative school transportation methods to reduce the school's carbon footprint Our modes of transportation rely heavily on methods of transport whose byproduct is contributing to significant increases in CO2 in the atmosphere. Strategize, raise awareness and participate in sustainable solutions - transportation that reduces fuel consumption as well as air, noise and water pollution.

Learning About Forests An international program of the Foundation for Environmental Education, FEE. Learning About Forests, aims to increase knowledge about the key role forests play in sustaining life on our planet. Learning About Forests is intended to reassert the idea that our forests are a natural asset to be treasured and kept safe for future generations, an idea which has for decades been neglected as our trees fueled economic expansion and lifestyle improvements.

Watersheds, Oceans and Wetlands Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth's surface. Our actions inland impact critical ecosystems as water travels throughout our watersheds, filtering through our diminishing wetlands and into our majestic struggling oceans. Through behavior change, creative design and innovative technology the future stewards of this planet can improve the health of these critical systems.