Take nature as a teacher, book urges schools


By Michael K. Stone
Published by Watershed Media, $24.95

The Center for Ecoliteracy advocates for schools’ pivotal role in meeting the environmental challenges that face our world, and the center’s new book, Smart by Nature, not only celebrates the achievements of schools that have taken the lead in sustainability education, but offers them as useful lessons for others to follow in their footsteps.

Author Michael K. Stone, senior editor for the Berkley, Calif.-based center, writes, “This generation will require leaders and citizens who can think ecologically, understand the interconnectedness of human and natural systems, and have the will, ability and courage to act.”

The efforts of the schools profiled in Smart by Nature are organized under the topics of sustainable lunch programs; greening campuses; wider community involvement in sustainable education; and using the natural world as a classroom.

Like what you're reading? Get free emails from NCR.

Stone sets forth four principles that guide this kind of sustainable schooling:

  • Nature is our teacher;

  • Sustainability is a community practice;

  • The real world is the optimal learning environment;

  • Sustainable living is rooted in a deep knowledge of place.

From these principles, the practices are as varied as the schools and communities that implement them. So the reader learns about schools that bring students into nearby woods, as well as about inner-city schools where students sally forth to assess the quality of life in their neighborhood and press city officials for improvements. New school buildings can adopt green practices from the ground up, while one school had to envision how to combine sustainability with preserving its historic, but inefficient, buildings.

Smart by Nature also provides ample resources for educators interested joining the schooling for sustainability movement, including organizations, books, films and government resources.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017