NWF is working with communities and schools to help restore monarch butterfly populations which have declined more than 90% in the past two decades. We are excited about our Monarch Heroes program with K-12 schools here in Austin. Through Monarch Heroes, students are learning about the importance of pollinators and creating monarch gardens with native nectar and milkweed plants on their school campuses. Schools, teachers and students in Austin are rallying behind this program - kids feel proud and empowered that they are helping to solve a current and tangible 'real-life' environmental problem!
NWF is working with urban communities to take action on behalf of monarchs - we instigated the Mayors' Monarch Pledge to encourage cities to create monarch habitat and educate citizens about how they can make a difference at home. To date, 254 communities across the country have signed the pledge; 68 in Texas. Austin's Mayor Steve Adler was an early signer, and the City of Austin is actively working on plans to help restore monarch habitat. Austin can be a critical way-station for monarchs during their migration to and from Mexico - and NWF is helping coordinate efforts to get citizens engaged in planting more native milkweed!
NWF is also working to protect Texas rivers, bays and estuaries. In 2016, our Texas Living Waters Project (partnership of NWF, Sierra Club and Galveston Bay Foundation) launched the Texas Water Conservation Scorecard - a rating of over 300 water utilities in Texas - to assess how they are doing on water conservation efforts. Check out the report and see how the city of Austin rated!
On September 16th, 2016, the National Wildlife Federation and AISD received the E. Lee Walker Award for Community Collaboration at the Celebration of Children in Nature Awards Dinner presented by the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin (CiNCA), for our work on the Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center and for our partnership in providing hands-on, nature-based learning opportunities for Austin school children.
The National Wildlife Federation's Austin staff works every day to Keep Austin Wild. Our school-based K-12 programs connect kids to nature and provide them opportunities to learn science and math in natural settings. We promote backyard and community wildlife habitats through our Garden for Wildlife program, and are helping restore populations of monarch butterflies through our school and community outreach programs. We work to keep Texas rivers healthy and flowing to the coast through our Texas Living Waters Project. Our Habitat Steward volunteers are busy helping the Austin community create urban wildlife habitat in their backyards and businesses. We hope you'll help us Keep Austin Wild by supporting our local conservation work!
PROTECTING TEXAS RIVERS AND BAYS
In the face of surging population and persistent drought, managing Texas water to protect our natural heritage and our economic future is an enormous challenge. Since 2001, NWF's Texas Living Waters Project (TLWP), has worked to keep our rivers flowing and ensure that Texas manages its limited fresh-water resources for the benefit of people and wildlife. TLWP provides science-based advocacy to lawmakers and administrators and has expanded outreach efforts to educate consumers on water conservation and stewardship.
CONNECTING KIDS TO NATURE
Our ability to protect wildlife and wild places depends on developing future generations of environmental stewards. Most American kids today spend only minutes per day playing and learning outdoors. NWF is working with schools around the country to connect kids to nature and inspire them to be good stewards of the environment. Our Schoolyard Habitats® program helps schools in developing outdoor classrooms where students learn about real-world wildlife species and ecosystems, and hone their academic skills. NWF's Eco-Schools USA is part of the largest green-schools program in the world, providing a framework to help educators integrate sustainability principles throughout their schools and curriculum -- while improving academic performance and cutting energy use and operating costs in the process.
MONARCH HEROES PROGRAM
NWF launched our Monarch Heroes program in Austin schools to engage and empower students to help restore declining populations of the monarch butterfly. Students learn about the crisis facing the monarch and what they can do to help. Working with teams of teachers and volunteers, students create and maintain monarch habitat gardens on their school campuses. The gardens provide the native milkweed monarchs need to make their migration through Texas and Austin students are proud of their efforts to help the species.
We've made great progress in our work to protect Texas' precious water resources and connect children and families to nature. With your help, we can continue to make a difference for wildlife in Austin and around Texas.
Your support can help us accomplish significant goals:
• Connect more kids to nature by funding schoolyard habitat gardens on Austin ISD campuses - where students discover the joy of learning in nature
• Advance protections of water flowing in Texas' rivers and estuaries
• Develop resources to promote more wildlife habitats in Austin yards, businesses, and public spaces
• Foster an environmental ethic in Austin students and their families
"(Learning from nature) is not something that students are memorizing…but rather will be able to later apply what they've learned and that experience to new learning. And that's the goal of teaching."
NWF's Monarch Heroes program - teacher testimonials:
"The structure and support that NWF provides to create a project-based learning unit focused on life science and environmental stewardship have been the best things about the Monarch Heroes program for me and our team. The training and materials have made it very simple to design and implement."
"My students are taking charge and ownership of NWF's Monarch Heroes project. It's gratifying to see students continue to initiate projects and plans to support monarchs and their gardens."
"The Monarch Heroes program influenced my teaching by empowering me with confidence through the incredible training we received. I was able to work through lessons from the curriculum. We were also able to see and touch caterpillars and chrysalis which gave me a strong emotional connection and drove me to want to learn and do more for these amazing insects."
"The Monarch Heroes program provides students a purpose for learning."
"We had the largest community turnout AISD has ever seen for a community gardening day. It gave a wonderful opportunity for the community (there were 70+ people) to come together and build the students' vision. Then the students were able to present to over 500 people about their project."