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Earth School launched to keep students connected to nature

By TED-Ed on April 21, 2020 in Earth School, News + Updates



Today, over 1.5 billion children are unable to go to school. Coronavirus’ impact goes beyond the health and economic crisis; it is also jeopardizing the education of students around the world.

Teachers are scrambling to offer students lessons online and parents are desperate for activities that will keep their kids engaged and connected to the outside world.

In response to this crisis, an unprecedented coalition of over fifty environmental and education experts are collaborating to launch The Earth School: 30 adventures for learners of all ages to discover, celebrate, and connect to nature. This global team came together under the guidance and support of TED-Ed and UNEP to design lessons for students of all levels and host Earth School at a time when it matters the most.

These experts have been supported by over 30 organizations including National Geographic, WWF, and the BBC who have offered top caliber videos, articles, and interactive resources that will be shared around the world. The initiative launches on Earth Day on April 22 and will conclude on World Environment Day on June 5. Earth School is comprised of daily adventures, or Quests, each organized around the theme: “The Nature of…” While the initiative is hosted online, the Quests are very much designed to encourage young people to connect with nature and their environment.

Covering real world concepts like the t-shirts we wear, the water we drink, the trees in our forests or the food on our plates, each Quest will consist of a discovery video and fun quiz combined with a series of interactive resources – including additional content to watch, read, teach, do, and share, with age-adjusted exercises built into each lesson.

The team behind Earth School is thrilled that it can help solve three major problems right now:

First, there are so many great environmental resources online that future environment experts don’t know where to begin. Earth School aggregates a wide span of lessons from trusted sources under a single platform. With these lessons, learners of all ages will be able to explore how to live greener and cleaner lives individually and in their communities.

Secondly, young people (in fact, all people!) are stuck inside, more disconnected from nature than ever before. Earth School encourages young people to understand how nature and our ecosystems provide the foundations for a healthy planet, and healthy people. We aim to inspire the awe and wonder of nature in Earth School students and help them finish the program with a firm grasp of how deeply intertwined we are with the planet.

And finally, the team at Earth School aims to help the parents of students around the world, many of whom are taking on their children’s education for the first time. Locating quality lessons and activities online is no easy task; we hope to support them in this unfamiliar moment of global pause and provide the spark of inspiration that will connect young people to nature.

Collaborators who have supported UNEP and TED-Ed in designing this initiative include: 


Dozens of quest curation volunteers came forward from around the globe to contribute time, energy and expertise: Kathleen Usher, Camilla Leathisia Kemdji, Gregor Reisch, Alison Lowndes, Koko Warner, Richard Matthew, Steve Davis, Bill Tomlinson, Jason Switzer, Sai Anirudh Grandhi, Claudia ten Have, Juli Voss, Kathryn Sforcina, Reuben Sessa, Jessie Oliver, Hannah Moosa, Kate Ireland, Xi Marquez, Cecily Yip, Chantal Robichaud, Carina Mutschele, Petter Malvik, Thierry Lucas, Lynsey Grosfield, Michal Nachmany, Pinja Sipari, Frank Sperling, Joanna Post, Lauren Weatherdon, Holly Griffin, Michael Weisberg, Essi Aarnio-Linnanvuori, Niklas Hagelberg, Magdalena Noszczyk, Rachael Joakim, Terry Gunning, Charles Avis, Julie Duffus, Tim Christophersen, Gabriell Labatte, Musonda Mumba, Paivi Kosunen, Jessica Espey, Mika Vanhanen,  Gaye Amus, Julie Kapuvari, Nicolas Cisneros, Anne Bowser, Colin Bangay,  Mary Ford, Annie Virnig, Naomi Kingston, Steven Ramage, Corrado Topi, Mikko Halonen, Janet Salem, Maria Cristina Bueti, Jenny Atkinson, Sadie Stephens, Kelly Ann Collins, Neha Raghav, Madhavi Joshi, Steph Pietras, Malm Nordlund, Georgina Kyriacou, Eckart von Hirschhausen, Kristy Buckley, Jamison Irving, Maye Padilla, Suzanne Redfern, Jessica Maki, Carter Ingram, Madeline Craig, Johanna Petrich, Caroline Harth, Emy Kane, Danny Witte, Adam Beattie, Kaisa Viitamäki, Caroline Nickerson, Yang Cao, Darlene Cavalier, Chris Ip, and Kristen Murrell.
The following collaborators also supported Earth School with content and/or outreach: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Earth Challenge 2020, Google Earth Engine, Planet and UN Technology Innovation Lab.
The curriculum advisory board has also played a key role in bringing this initiative to life. This includes Kathleen Usher PhD (lead on curriculum design), Jessie Oliver, Juli Voss, Sam Barratt and David Jensen.
Overall coordination: Logan Smalley; Logan McClure Davda; Sumeera Rasul; Sam Barratt; David Jensen and Kathleen Usher.
Tags: Climate Change, Creativity, Earth Day, Earth Week, Education, Environment, Environmental Science, Parents, Science