Powerful ideas and practical actions from YES! Education, supporting teachers and feeding the next generation with stories, curriculum, tools and resources
Powerful ideas and practical actions from YES! Education, supporting teachers and feeding the next generation with stories, curriculum, tools and resources
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YES! Magazine

February 2013 :: What Can Nature Teach Us?   Facebook Like button Twitter Follow button

“We often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.”
—Andy Goldsworthy

Dear Educator,

Ever wonder where the inventor of Velcro got his idea? It was the burrs on the burdock plant that inspired him.

Your students can learn more about nature’s tricks and treasures from the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute’s online library, curricula, and design challenges. They’re one of the featured resources in this newsletter, which continues our exploration of the YES! issue, “What Would Nature Do?” You’ll also find a colorful spread on 12 permaculture principles and infographics showing different points of view about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). A TEDTalk tells of an unusual way to get to know your neighbors—have them write their secrets and dreams on a giant chalkboard.

I also want you to know about a remarkable video about a special school. A Year at Mission Hill is a 10-part video series about a Boston school’s journey of self-discovery, frustration, and elation as it tries to create a brilliant learning community. Every other Thursday at 8 p.m. (EST), from February 14 until June, a new episode will be released. Watch the movie. Start a conversation.

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

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Biomimicry 3.8 Institute logoBiomimicry 3.8 Institute Offers Sustainable Design Tools and 3.8 Billion Years of Inspiration

Biomimicry is a way of learning from nature. It’s also a sustainable design tool that is valuable to scientists, business-people, and student entrepreneurs who are itching to invent environmentally-friendly products, such as a boat that cleans water.

YES! recommends the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute for passionately sharing this transformative approach. You’ll find classroom resources—charts, curricula, and a library of nature’s solutions, all offered online for free. You may also be interested in the design challenges for high school and university students.



Margo Farnsworth portraitHow Does Nature Do That?

Biomimicry scientist Janine Benyus describes biomimicry as “the conscious emulation of life’s genius.” To park ranger-turned-professor Margo Farnsworth, biomimicry is one of the most important new tools for sustainability. It gets her college students outside and unleashes their scientific and entrepreneurial minds. Their experiences confirm there are infinite lessons and solutions to learn from nature. This is Margo’s story.


Backyard chickensBackyard Permaculture

This downloadable, illustrated chart shares 12 permaculture principles to guide your backyard “garden farming” project. Using these methods, permaculturist Peter Bane grew more than 150 species on less than 2,000 square feet!

The Page That Counts graphicThe Page That Counts

Are your students curious about how U.S. 10th graders compare in alcohol and tobacco use to peers in 36 European countries? Or in the current minimum wage for tipped workers? Check out The Page That Counts for mind-tickling facts!


World Savvy logoWorld Savvy

World Savvy resources help your students learn how to think rather than what to think about contemporary global and community issues. Lesson plans and youth engagement projects on water, environmental justice, women’s rights, and more bring the world into your classroom.

Genetically Modified Organisms infographicThe Debate on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

What do your students know about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Do they think they’re good or bad? Why do we have them at all? You can cultivate your students’ critical thinking skills by having them analyze these three infographics on GMOs, created by organizations with differing points of view.


Before I Die imageNeighborhood Chalkboard Reveals Secrets and Dreams

In this TEDTalk, artist Candy Chang tells how she got to know her neighbors by turning an abandoned house into a humongous chalkboard. On it, she asked: Before I die, I want to _________.


In a Bind imageIn a Bind

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

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