UL and NAAEE are proud to announce the 2015 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 awards 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.
On August 6, 2015, all five winning teams met in Chicago at UL headquarters for the inaugural ULIEA kick-off meeting and leadership summit. Joined by UL executives, guest speakers and others directly involved in sustainability and environmental work, the summit not only recognized the winning teams for their work, but also helped cultivate a network among the teams as well as UL mentors.
The event included an awards ceremony, a working session hosted by Jamie Herring, executive producer of the National Climate Assessment's digital strategy, launched by President Obama in May 2014, and a keynote talk by Barbara Guthrie, UL’s VP and Chief Public Safety Officer.
Grant Prize Winner - $100,000 Recognition Award
The Future City Competition
Future City is a project-based learning competition that asks teams in middle schools throughout the U.S. to imagine, research, and design virtual reality scale models of cities of the future that emphasize environmental sustainability, with a goal of making the world a better place.
One of the many aspects that sets Future City apart is its use of technology in the classroom, providing students with specialized SimCity software with which to design their future sustainable city, in addition to more traditional methods, such as essays and presentations. Simultaneously Future City tasks its participants with tackling pressing environmental challenges, such as clean energy, clean water, solid waste management, storm water runoff, and urban agriculture within their city design.
Tier Two Winners - $50,000 Recognition Award
Women in Natural Sciences Programs
Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) is an out of school time four-year program that provides mentoring for Philadelphia high school girls to help prepare them for, and help them down a path to, college and STEM/E-STEM careers.
One particular example of innovation through WINS is the Cultural Repercussions of Climate Change in Two Communities: A Teenage Viewpoint (CRCC) initiative. CRCC empowers students in Philadelphia and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to gain a greater appreciation of each others’ cultures, how these cultures are influenced by climate change, and how teenagers can play a vital role in educating their communities about climate change.
Cafeteria Culture - ARTS+ACTION Cafeteria Waste Reduction
Cafeteria Culture develops hands-on activities around sustainability topics and incorporates them into the school curriculum with the objective of achieving zero waste standards in school cafeterias and climate smart communities, and in dramatically reducing levels of garbage at schools and in the homes of students.
Their ARTS+ACTION Cafeteria Waste Reduction program teaches school youth to become Cafeteria Rangers overseeing/training other students on sorting garbage and recyclables, thereby reducing school waste, while the program also institutes a “Make Change Messaging” component that teaches and empowers youth to be active advocates for climate change issues such as garbage reduction.
Tier Three Winners - $25,000 Recognition Award.
Making Tracks: Environmental Leadership Through Knowledge Integration
The Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science (TRACKS) Program works annually with more than 7,000 indigenous youth, primarily ages 8-13, and adults from local First Nations communities on providing skills, knowledge, and activities about environmental science by integrating them with traditional and contemporary indigenous knowledge and culture.
TRACKS innovates E-STEM learning through a unique organizational structure, program delivery, curriculum design, and relationship building model, striving to foster cultural pride among Indigenous youth, while engaging them in E-STEM, and helping them to recognize themselves as scientists in both Western and traditional settings. This model is designed embodying the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing, a Mi'kmaw concept that speaks to the depth and richness of learning that encompasses more than one perspective.
The University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School: Building E‐STEM Identity in Idaho
The University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) connects students to peers, mentors, community leaders, and experts in an E-STEM initiative focusing on the context of Idaho’s land, water, and communities, using problem-based and inquiry-based approaches in small groups to solve complex real world problems with innovative solutions.
MOSS demonstrates innovation with its focus on place-based expeditions, collaborative online environments, and integration of E-STEM along all grade levels. Inclusive of participants from the K-12 grade range all the way up to PhD faculty, the program has led to numerous peer-reviewed articles and demonstrated success in increasing student science identity and science process skills.