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December 2012 :: What Would Nature Do?   Facebook Like button Twitter Follow button

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”—Albert Einstein

Dear Educators,

Sometimes the obvious answer to a question isn’t so obvious because our own hubris gets in the way.

That’s what you’ll see in YES! Magazine’s current issue “What Would Nature Do?” It features stories about how solutions to our biggest challenges are evident in nature if we only choose to see them. You’ll find related teaching resources from the Center for Ecoliteracy. Their curricula, lessons, films, and essays help students experience the natural world and understand how to live sustainably. This newsletter also has a story on instilling permaculture values in Hopi youth, a video on odd animal couples, and an introduction to TED-Ed (yes, that TED) and its amazing library of education films.

Help your students write for a wider audience. Register today for our Student writing competition. Students will respond to the YES! article, “What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other” and the writing prompt: Imagine you accept Akaya Windwood's invitation to intentionally notice people you would normally ignore or not see. Who would you notice? How would you acknowledge that person? And what could possibly change for you? For them? Registration deadline is January 30.

Wishing you a restful winter break and a memorable 2013!

Jing FongBest,
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Jing Fong
Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine

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The Center for Ecoliteracy logo The Center for Ecoliteracy

The Center for Ecoliteracy’s work is based on the understanding that guidance for living abundantly on a finite planet lies, literally, under our feet and all around us—in living soil, food webs and water cycles, energy from the sun, and everywhere that nature reveals her ways.

YES! recommends the Center for Ecoliteracy (CFE) for its resources on sustainable living. Its gorgeous, easy-to-navigate website offers a delicious menu of books, film guides, essays, teaching strategies, and lessons on topics that you will want to share with your students—from biodiversity to oceans to food and farming.
   MORE »


Lilian Hill mugshot Permaculture Helps Us Remember Who We Are

On the Hopi reservation, Lilian Hill was raised by her great grandparents and beloved elders with the three principles of permaculture—Care for the Earth, Care for the People, Share the Surplus. Today, many Hopi young people are no longer connected to the land. By returning to traditional farming and ecological wisdom, Lilian and Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture are promoting a healthier Hopi community and helping youth remember who they are as Hopi People. This is Lilian’s story.    MORE »


Thumbnail of What Would Nature Do? infographic Just the Facts

This engaging infographic illustrates how nature keeps nitrogen, carbon, and other key ingredients of life balanced when left alone—and what happens when humans overload the system to feed plants and burn coal and oil.    MORE »

Top Hat Illustration YES! But How? Parlor Games

Before board, card, and video games, there were parlor games. Spoons, sardines, or telephone charades sound familiar? Try these and other suggestions with your students or at your next family get-together for some raucous fun!    MORE »


TED-Ed logo TED-Ed

TED’s newest initiative, TED-Ed, allows you to turn a video into a customized lesson that you can share with your students or others. You’ll be like a kid in a candy store eyeing the library of lessons and short films that pair big idea educators with talented animators.    MORE »

The Grass is Greener When You Get Outside excerpted from Big Disconnect Infographic The Big Disconnect Infographic

The average American spends more than 90 percent of his or her time indoors. Check out this infographic on why today’s lifestyle can lead to health risks, like obesity, and why nature is the best medicine. Brainstorm with your students why they are drawn to time inside, and ways to reconnect with the great outdoors.    MORE »


Tolerance by Mary Mackay, East Side Gallery. Visiting the Berlin Wall in the East Side Gallery. Photo by JiveDanson flickr/jivedanson Enter the Winter 2013 Writing Competition

Who are people your students might ignore in their school or community? What does it feel like to live in a world where people don’t acknowledge your existence? Have your students enter our winter writing competition and let their passionate reflections flow from pen to paper.

Students will read and respond to the YES! article, “What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other,” by Akaya Windwood. Akaya’s story is about how her heart broke when she was thanked by a young African American man for simply saying hello. She invites us all to intentionally notice people we normally ignore or don’t see.

Registration deadline is January 30. Essays are due no later than February 21.

Portraits of Fall 2012 Writing Competition winners: Paw, Chris, Ritika, and Rowan Winners of the Fall 2012 Competition

We’re delighted to feature four winning essays from our Fall 2012 competition. Participants read and responded to the YES! article, “Living Large in a Tiny House,” about Dee Williams who downsized to an 84-square-foot house. Congratulations to our essay winners, and a big thank you to all writers who submitted essays.    MORE »


Animal Odd Couples PBS Animal Odd Couples

A 16-year-old goat and a blind 40-year-old horse? A Great Dane surrogate mother for an abandoned fawn? PBS Nature and noted scientists Temple Grandin and Marc Beckoff explore the nature of animal emotions and why animals form these special bonds.    WATCH »


Judy Pruim mugshot High and Dry

Ask these three questions about this photo: What do you notice, What are you wondering? And, after uncovering some facts, What’s next?    MORE »

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Each quarter, we take on today’s critical issues with a fresh and positive point of view. Our stories fuse powerful ideas and practical actions, and inspire people to create a better world.