Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Provide resources to integrate environmental literacy and sustainability standards into existing curricula and coursework.
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All resources in Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Ice Fishing - Climate Wisconsin

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Climate change is affecting the duration of ice cover on Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn about the relationship between ice fishing and decreasing ice cover through the eyes of two local ice fishers. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Birkebeiner - Climate Wisconsin

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In this story, follow John Kotar through the 2010 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race from Cable to Hayward, WI. Having skied every 'Birkie' since it started in 1973, John shares his experience and how the race is being threatened by climate change. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Forestry - Climate Wisconsin

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Marshall Pecore, forest manager for Menominee Tribal Enterprises, describes the forest's economic and cultural value, and the management techniques used in order to sustain it. He identifies invasive species and diseases as a major threat to forest health, a threat that may intensify as Wisconsin's climate warms. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Climate Wisconsin - Stories from a State of Change: Sugaring

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This resource has a short video (3:34) to a digital story on maple sugar harvesting in Wisconsin and the impacts of climate change on this Wisconsin cultural tradition. The resource includes: 1) teaching tips with video discussion questions, 2) background information on maple sugaring and climate change, and 3) links to data bases on maple syrup production and climate change models.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Reading

Extreme Heat - Climate Wisconsin

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Elijah Furquan, a spoken word artist in Milwaukee, WI, describes the effects of extreme heat on his urban community. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Fly Fishing - Climate Wisconsin

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Follow Peter Cozad, a fly fishing guide in Viroqua as he explores a few of the many trout streams in southwestern Wisconsin. Learn why fly fishing is important to the economy of the region as well as to him personally, and how it may be threatened by climate change. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Adaptation and Mitigation - Climate Wisconsin

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After watching this video, students will be able to distinguish between the roles of mitigation and adaptation in responding to climate change. The video offers examples of actions that humans can take as individuals and a society to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on natural and built environments. Adaption and Mitigation is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Farming - Climate Wisconsin

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Kyle Niedfeldt Zenz, a fourth generation farmer in Bangor, Wisconsin, is the farm manager at Old Oak Family Farm. Watch as she describes the diverse crops and animals raised on the farm and the challenges they face from climate change, including pests and disease. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Sugaring - Climate Wisconsin

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Follow Kat Becker and Tony Shultz, third generation maple syrup producers in Athens, WI, through a day of sugaring. Kat and Tony describe the process of collecting and boiling down sap to produce maple syrup. They explore how specific weather conditions are necessary for the process and how those conditions may be impacted by climate change. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Phenology - Climate Wisconsin

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Nina Leopold Bradley recounts how she learned as a child to record first flower blooms and the arrival of birds on her family's land along the Wisconsin River. She introduces the practice of phenology, or the study of the timing of life cycles of plants and animals, and explores evidence of climate change from records her family has kept since 1935. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Great Lakes Shipping - Climate Wisconsin

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Come aboard with Pilot Randy Hayes on the Isa, a Great Lakes cargo ship carrying steel to the Port of Milwaukee, and explore the impacts of climate change on Great Lakes shipping. Learn how water level and shipping season affect the amount of cargo a ship can carry. This story is from Climate Wisconsin — an educational multimedia project featuring stories about the impact of climate change in Wisconsin. Available resources include an interactive and ten videos along with background essays and teaching tips. Climate Wisconsin connects stories of personal observation and experience to current climate change research. Discover more at ClimateWisconsin.org.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration

Author: PBS Wisconsin Education

Composting Competition

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In a multi-week experiment, students monitor the core temperatures of two compost piles, one control and one tended, to see how air and water affect microbial activity. They daily aerate and wet the "treated" pile and collect 4-6 weeks' worth of daily temperature readings. Once the experiment is concluded, students plot and analyze their data to compare the behavior of the two piles. They find that the treated pile becomes hotter, an indication that more microbes are active and releasing heat. Through this activity, students see that microbes play a role in composting and how composting can be used as a carbon management process.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Membrane Biotechnology Laboratory,, Robert Bair, Ivy Drexler, Jorge Calabria, George Dick, Onur Ozcan, Matthew Woodham, Caryssa Joustra, Herby Jean, Emanuel Burch, Stephanie Quintero, Lyudmila Haralampieva, Daniel Yeh

Composting – Nature's Disappearing Act

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Students explore the concept of biodegradability by building and observing model landfills to test the decomposition of samples of everyday garbage items. They collect and record experiment observations over five days, seeing for themselves what happens to trash when it is thrown "away" in a landfill environment. This shows them the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable and serves to introduce them to the idea of composting. Students also learn about the role of engineering in solid waste management.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Amy Kolenbrander, Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,, Janet Yowell, Jessica Todd, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

3RC (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost)

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In this lesson, students expand their understanding of solid waste management to include the idea of 3RC (reduce, reuse, recycle and compost). They will look at the effects of packaging decisions (reducing) and learn about engineering advancements in packaging materials and solid waste management. Also, they will observe biodegradation in a model landfill (composting).

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Amy Kolenbrander, Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,, Janet Yowell, Jessica Todd, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Biorecycling: Using Nature to Make Resources from Waste

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By studying key processes in the carbon cycle, such as photosynthesis, composting and anaerobic digestion, students learn how nature and engineers "biorecycle" carbon. Students are exposed to examples of how microbes play many roles in various systems to recycle organic materials and also learn how the carbon cycle can be used to make or release energy.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Membrane Biotechnology Laboratory,, Robert Bair, Ivy Drexler, Jorge Calabria, George Dick, Onur Ozcan, Matthew Woodham, Caryssa Joustra, Herby Jean, Emanuel Burch, Stephanie Quintero, Lyudmila Haralampieva, Daniel Yeh

What Will Biodegrade?

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Students investigate what types of materials biodegrade in the soil, and learn what happens to their trash after they throw it away. The concepts of landfills and compost piles will be explained, and the students will have an opportunity to create their own miniature landfill in which the difference between organic and inorganic waste will become clear.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Engineering K-PhD Program,, Roarke Horstmeyer