Resources for PreK-8 Activity 55 – Planning the Ideal Community

A human community is a system of facilities, services, resources, and human relationships that enable people to live in a particular place. In this activity, students survey the area around their school to look for the components of the human community in which they live. They then plan an ideal community that meets all the needs of its residents.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • The State of the World’s Forests 2020

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has monitored the world’s forests at 5 to 10-year intervals since 1946. The State of the World’s Forests 2020–Forests, Biodiversity and People, examines the contributions of forests, and of the people who use and manage them, to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. For the first time, this edition is a joint effort between two United Nations entities: FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    In addition, this interactive report contains the main findings of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020). FRA 2020 examines the status of, and trends in, more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020. The information provided by FRA presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and the ways in which the resource is changing.

  • PLT’s 12 Green Job Fact Sheets

    Learn more about the wide array of jobs related to forests with PLT’s 12 Green Jobs Fact Sheets, which highlights the following green jobs: Forester, Environmental Educator, GIS Specialist, Indigenous Relations Specialist, Forestry Technician, Park Ranger, Hydrologist, Silviculture Technician, Urban Forester, Machine Operator, Wildlife Biologist, and Sustainability Manager. Green jobs offer opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds, skills, interest areas, and personal qualities. Youth and adults alike might be surprised at the range of green career opportunities. These jobs help sustain forest ecosystems and ensure that forest products are produced in the most sustainable way possible also ensure that wildlife habitat is conserved, trees are replanted, and workers are treated fairly.

  • Detroit Parks Coloring Pages

    Learn what makes a city park great, such as local wildlife, spaces for public enjoyment and community activities, with this Detroit Parks Coloring Book. Use these coloring pages (available for download, print, and color) for students to explore the parks around the city of Detroit, Michigan. Then, discuss with students ways your community might conserve and enhance its public spaces with the help of PLT activities and have them investigate organizations, like the non-profit Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, that work to support community public spaces.

  • Forest Diorama

    Engage your students in developing their ELA skills and storytelling with this resource Creating a Forest Diorama from Debra Wagner, a 4th grade teacher and PLT School Coordinator at St. Paul Lutheran School in Florida. You’ll reach students who would never “picture” themselves in a forest or other habitat! Wagner was named a National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2010.

  • Podcast Series: Learning About Green Careers

    Learn more about the work of a tree conservation ecologist in this episode from the podcast series Planted: Finding your roots in STEM Careers. Dr. Silvia Alvarez-Clare works at The Morton Arboretum, located 25 miles west of Chicago. She collaborates with individuals and institutions all over the world to save the brandegee oak (Quercus brandegeei) from extinction. Dr Alvarez-Clare talks about her career path and discovering her passion in tree conservation and shares how climate change is impacting tree life cycles

  • EJSCREEN

    EPA’s EJSCREEN: Environmental Justice and Mapping Tool is an interactive tool that combines data about environmental and demographic indicators in maps and reports. Use this mapping tool to display information about geography, air and water quality, education, and 11 environmental justice (EJ) indexes and make comparisons between state data vs. regions or the nation.

  • Imagine If

    Imagine If is a podcast on climate resilience. Developed by the National Association for Environmental Education and National GeographicImagine If interviews change makers effecting positive change on the world. Imagine If features high school students designing solutions to environmental issues in their communities. Listen with your students and inspire them to become change makers in their community!

  • Beat the Uncertainty: Planning Climate-Resilient Cities

    Imagine you and your friends are citizens, policymakers, business leaders, and nonprofit leaders of a coastal city. As a decision maker, your job is to make sure your city is resilient to the impacts of climate change. Use this game, Beat the Uncertainty: Planning Climate-Resilient Cities, with students to help them visualize the impact of climate change and rising sea levels. This simulation was adapted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Download the instructions and game booklet!

  • Environmental Justice – EPA’s Data and Mapping Tool

    EJ SCREEN is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that combines environmental and demographic indicators to provide interesting and important regional data related to public health and environmental quality. By clicking anywhere on the map, users can view an area’s ozone levels, traffic concentrations, lead paint indicators, and more. EJSCREEN can assist in the identification of rural, urban, and suburban areas that are the most at-risk and it allows users to find correlations between the socioeconomic background of the region and the prevalence of environmental hazards.

  • What Is an Invasive Species?

    This U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website provides information and resources on invasive species.

  • Earth from Space

    This Smithsonian Institution website  provides students (and teachers!) access to views of conditions and events on earth that are nearly impossible to document from the Earth’s surface. The site proves interactive; explaining how satellite imagery is gathered and used to better understand the world around us.

  • The Place Where You Live

    Orion magazine has reinstated its popular column called “The Place Where You Live.” This is a space where students and educators can share thoughts and experiences related to their communities or personal places.  First-hand feelings are shared, such as what connects individuals to their special place, the history it holds, their hopes and fears for it, as well as resources necessary to protect it, prepare it for the future, and/or improve it.

  • Outdoor Classroom Resources

    Are you interested in developing an outdoor classroom with your school or community? The Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry has put together a great resource on developing outdoor education areas. Recently updated by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), Guidelines and Features for Outdoor Classrooms shares factors and suggestions for planning and building an educational outdoor space for schools and communities.

  • Agents of Nature – Free Mobile App

    The Agents of Nature Mobile Game is a place-based, environmental education game for iOS and Android devices that blends best practices in gaming industry technology with experiential outdoor education. It is designed to connect youth with nature, educate them about local ecosystems, and promote physical activity using readily accessible technologies. After downloading the free app, students head out to participating sites in their community and search for hidden QR codes which unlock challenges based on the mysteries of nature. Possible locations include Mount St. Helens, Los Angeles, Houston, and more. Try it today!

  • EPA Environmental Justice Blog Highlights Map Tool for Equitable Planning

    In this blog post, Makara Rumley writes about the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas, a map tool showing key areas of community well-being. Learn how this tool can be used to help understand the issues of affecting neighborhoods and encourage equitable policies, development, and planning. 

  • Return to the Forest Where We Live

    This video, available for purchase, takes a look at the devastation of the urban forests in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Katrina. More than 70% of the trees in New Orleans were damaged by the storm and the flooding that followed. Can you imagine a city without trees? What changes result?

  • EnviroAtlas

    EPA’s new EnviroAtlas tool is designed to help communities and researchers make informed planning and policy decisions related to the environment and ecosystems. EnviroAtlas provides datasets and interactive tools to allow users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. EnviroAtlas includes over 300 data layers, letting users analyze how decisions affect ecosystems and their ability to provide goods and services. Key components include:

     

  • Why Trees? Video

    As we know, trees represent more than just beautiful natural elements of our land, they also provide shade, manage water, stop erosion, protect streams, soothe the soul, clean the air, protect the quality and health of water, and attract homeowners, renters, and shoppers. Check out this Doodle Lecture created by Alabama Cooperative Extension that unveils the many benefits of having trees in our communities.