What are the signs of spring? When is the first day of spring? Which frogs are the first to voice their melodic trill? Students can find answers to these questions and more on the newly launched Environmental Education for Kids website at EEKwi.org
Environmental education is required in Wisconsin schools, and implementation is supported by the Wisconsin’s Standards for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability
(2018). The Wisconsin Green Schools Network offers Environmental Education for Kids (EEK!) as student-friendly content teachers can use as a catalyst to connect, explore, and engage in learning outdoors.
EEK! is designed for upper-elementary and middle school students to learn about our state’s natural resources. The website, originally created by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, has been completely redesigned by the Wisconsin Green Schools Network. The original content has been reformatted into a graphical interface and a new “Great Lakes Portal” has been added thanks to support from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the Great Lakes Information Network. The DPI is excited to be a partner in this resource, which has nearly 1,000 pages to help advance environmental literacy.
Students can learn about next month’s Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations, explore different types of habitats, and get familiar with some of the state’s flora and fauna. Many of the plant and animal pages are also available in Spanish.
The new mobile-friendly site provides opportunity for using the dichotomous tree key or water critters identification guides while out in the field. There is also a list of downloadable nature apps to aid the exploration.
A variety of online and offline games, activities, and quizzes can be completed at home or at school. Students can learn how to get involved in their community through citizen science, or read stories of natural resource professionals as they contemplate future careers.
Middle school students can download a free ebook, Restoration in the Barrens, written by Wisconsin Rapids teacher Joe Riederer. Restoration in the Barrens is a story about a young teen’s struggle to rebuild his life while helping to rebuild a local prairie.
A link for educators provides access to the supporting lesson plans from the original site as well as a gateway to additional resources including grants, contests, and events in EEinWisconsin.org. Also, educators can sign-up on EEK! to participate in a statewide “teach-in” for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
Content for both EEK! and EEinWisconsin is contributed by many partners from our environmental education community. Pages are continually being revised, and fresh and new content is being added to both sites regularly. If you would like to contribute content or have suggestions for content that could be included on EEK, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Now is the perfect season to spring into environmental education — in the classroom, on the schoolyard, at home, or in your backyard!