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Environmental Education Week 2012

water on leafThe environment, with its range of engaging, real-world challenges, gives teachers a chance to provide students with meaningful, hands-on experiences that reinforce STEM concepts across multiple subject areas. This year’s National Environmental Education Week, which falls on April 16 -21, 2012, reflects that concept in its theme–Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 21st Century Learning.

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EPA Teacher Resources

EPA LogoThe Environmental Protection Agency has a collection of materials that can be used to teach environmental topics like conservation, human health, stewardship, waste & recycling, and water. The EPA also offers publications, awards and grants, workshops, conferences, student scholarships, community service projects, and a club for kids.

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Dispersants – a Help or a Hazard?

Oil Slick Off of Louisiana CoastBritish Petroleum is using a series of dispersants to combat the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — chemicals intended to break up the surface tension of an oil slick and make oil more water-soluble. But the contents of some of these chemicals may be toxic to humans and wildlife, according to information newly released by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Lesson: Landfills and Contamination

What happens to garbage? In this lesson, students grades 9-12 derive the answer by building their own landfill. While observing how household waste can leach into soil and groundwater, they also learn the importance of well supervised, sanitary disposal sites.

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Website: Superfund Sites Where You Live

EPA LogoThis comprehensive website, run by the Environmental Protection Agency, provides lists of Superfund sites organized by state. A Superfund site is an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people. Important documents, contacts, timelines, and historical information are available for each location.

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Resource: Hazardous Waste Class Activities

EPA-Logo1HAZ-ED is a collection of class materials for grades 7-12 focusing on hazardous waste, dump sites, and efforts of remediation The materials — which include basic information, warm-up and full class activities, fact sheets, a glossary, suggested readings, a brochure about the Superfund program, and a bibliography — can be used as part of a larger curriculum or stand-alone.

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Website: Superfund365

Superfund365Each day for a year, Superfund365 visited one toxic site in the federal Superfund program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For each entry chronicling the trip, an interactive graph shows what kinds of contaminants are involved, along with the acreage affected. The entries also feature timelines, local demographics and population statistics, photos, location and descriptive information, a hazardous ranking score, maps, and a blog entry about the site visits.

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Feature: Learning from Blight

Polluting BuilidingFor residents of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, Blue Mountain is a scar on the landscape and a health hazard. But for 120 sixth graders at Eyer Middle School in Macungie, Pa., Blue Mountain became a laboratory for understanding the nation’s problems with toxic waste and ways to clean it up.

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