UL and NAAEE are proud to announce the 2017 UL Innovative Education Award winners.
Five programs were selected, each with a focus on advancing STEM learning through projects involving real environmental problems (E-STEM) and each demonstrating success and innovation in this field. Recognition grants were awarded to all five programs to help further their work. In addition, each winner will also be paired with UL employees, including science, engineering, and technical experts in realizing the full scope of activities in their E-STEM educational programs.
The Chicago Botanic Garden's Science Career Continuum (SCC) delivers E-STEM enrichment, mentorship, and authentic research opportunities to underserved Chicago Public School students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM. The program comprises three components-Science First, College First, and undergraduate internships-and targets youth from backgrounds underrepresented in science. SCC has benefited more than 500 students during its 23-year history.
SCC's replicable model supports students along a multi-year path-including critical transitions between middle school, high school, and college-and has demonstrated excellent results. Since 2008, 100% of SCC seniors have graduated from high school, 95% have matriculated to college, and 93% of survey responders have earned a post-secondary degree.
Design Squad Global (DSG) connects kids, ages 9-13, from across the globe to engineer solutions to needs in their communities including protecting the environment, making children's and older people's lives better, improving their schools, and helping people stay healthy and safe. Implemented in global afterschool programs (DSG Clubs) as well as through an award-winning PBS Kids website (pbskids.org/designsquad), DSG provides fun and engaging hands-on opportunities for middle school-aged children to solve environmental problems and build engineering and global competency skills. DSG is a production of WGBH, the leading producer of programming for PBS.
The Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership is a learning community that integrates science education, applied research, and leadership development to provide hands-on learning opportunities to all ages. From spring through fall, our emphasis on environmental stewardship comes alive on our offshore, offline, off-the-grid island campus situated in the heart of midcoast Maine. Year-round, we are embedded in our local communities, using education and research to support our schools and our working waterfronts. Our goal is to train and inspire others to be informed and articulate advocates for science and effective and motivated environmental stewards.
The Chicago Eco House uses sustainability to alleviate poverty in some of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago. The Eco House is a home based learning space where youth are treated as neighbors and not as program participants. Youth learn about various aspects of sustainability including 3D printing, backyard chickens, urban agriculture, off grid solar, healthy cooking, etc. Youth are trained to apply these concepts in an entrepreneurial context as they grow flowers and create 3D printed jewelry for sale. The Eco House is designed to "live life" with at risk youth and demonstrate green economic opportunities to give kids an alternative to the streets.
Re-Energy is a hands-on, experiential learning program that engages youth in a process of discovery about energy sources - and the advantages and disadvantages of renewables vs non-renewables - and then inspires creativity and problem solving through the building of a working renewable energy technology model: solar ovens, wind turbines, and biogas and hydro generators. Re-Energy enables kids to understand complicated environmental issues - such as climate change - from the entry point of a positive, constructive (literally!) activity firmly rooted in STEM - which is key to inspiring youth to participate as key actors toward achieving a sustainable future.
The Elizabeth River Project's Dominion Viriginia Power Learning Barge
By: The Elizabeth River Project
The coastal city of Norfolk, Virginia, joined the Rockefeller Foundation and HUD to prepare adults for the second highest sea level rise in the country, but no one was focusing on preparing the children who will inherit the greatest impacts. As a model for the nation, the non-profit Elizabeth River Project's Learning Barge, America's Greenest Vessel, took the lead to annually prepare 7,000, K-12 students for the rising tide. Powered by wind and sun, the barge engages youth as junior scientists and engineers to be innovative through a hands-on GreenSTEM program that will result in the first Youth Resilience Strategy.
Hudson Valley Seed Garden Learning
By: Hudson Valley Seed
From: New York
Hudson Valley Seed educates children in school gardens, empowering students through curriculum-integrated lessons focused on hands-on outdoor learning, healthy eating, and academic success.
Hudson Valley Seed (HVS) educators bring more than 60 K-5 classes each week outside to school gardens to garden and learn. By planting, nurturing, harvesting, preparing, and eating vegetables in their school garden students develop a healthy relationship with their food and with the greater natural world while also gaining skills in science, math and literacy. HVS currently serves 3,122 students a year across seven elementary schools.
By: STE(A)M Truck
STE(A)M Truck, the Southeast's first innovation lab on wheels, provides access to community experts, state of the art tools, and a rigorous curriculum focused on ensuring our next generation thrives in the 21st century. The STE(A)M Truck experience is brought to life with local expertise: coders, makers, designers, and artists. They tackle real - not text book - problems, design solutions, and then get their hands dirty and build things together with youth. By driving a mobile innovation lab directly to schools serving our poorest youth, we can close opportunity gaps too often predicted by zip code.
Urban Oases=Learning Places: The New Haven Harbor Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership
By: Common Ground
At Common Ground's educational wetland -- planted by high school students and STEM professionals -- second graders extend nets to sample aquatic creatures. Across town, pictures of students stand tall, looking down onto a park where students and neighbors restored habitat. At twelve public K-8 schools across New Haven, students collect data on life under logs, explore nature trails that they created, and learn from exhibits that they designed. Together, these efforts are creating one of the country's first urban wildlife refuges, transforming our city into an oasis -- and creating a rich, city-wide classroom for E-STEM.
Wings Over Water: a Multidisciplinary STEM education program based on Ospreys.
By: Montana Natural History Center
Wings Over Water: a Multidisciplinary STEM education program based on Ospreys. The Montana Natural History Center has worked with researchers at University of Montana, for over a decade, to educate more than 50,000 young Montanans about STEM topics, by connecting them with wild Ospreys. The program has gained such momentum that we have formally expanded into middle school classrooms. The Wings Over Water program engages students in science, and excites interest in STEM careers. We provide intensive teacher training and direct outreach, immersing students in authentic research during field trips and lessons that span ecology, physics, math, aeronautics, and engineering.
Thank you to all of our 2017 applicants! What an amazing year we have had! The UL Innovative Education Award once again recieved numerous applications from diverse and wonderful non-profits doing great work in the E-STEM field. We thank all of you for your dedication to E-STEM and the wonderful work that you are doing!