Wild Treasures: Sustainability, Naturally

Real problem solving science for grades 5-12

Wild Treasures bridges one of the most difficult gaps in our society between the unfocused knowledge that something is wrong, and the skills and mindset to start changing it. I sure wish there’d been something like it in my school! Bill McKibben, author

What if science classrooms, young and old, were devoted to solving real social and environmental problems? Wild Treasures believes the active engagement of youth in solving real problems should be at the heart of our nation’s science education programs. We just have too many issues that prevail on all sorts of scales to not take advantage of our youth and their ability and readiness to learn science when it really matters.

Wild Treasures begins in September with students trying to solve a variety of engaging problems introducing them to big ideas about sustainability: waste, exponential growth, cycling, feedback loops and entropy. It ends in June with a class transforming the way their school operates.

Through real problem solving science, students investigate their school’s sustainable practices, create and present a persuasive proposal for changing their school’s operation, and then turn their school board approved proposal into action.

By integrating science and civics into a seamless, rewarding curriculum, students can reduce their school’s solid waste, implement school-wide alternative energy and energy conservation programs, initiate large-scale composting, develop organic lunch programs, and create a sustainable purchasing criteria for school equipment and services.

Wild Treasures has been field tested since 1997 with 5th-8th grade classrooms in southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire who have already made these kinds of impacts.

Ray McNulty, Vermont Commissioner of Education, was so impressed with the educational integrity of Wild Treasures he said, I wish all middle school students can experience this exemplary sustainability education program.

Wild Treasures is about real problem solving, real decision-making and consequences, real community participation, proposals based on first-hand research, and actions that improve the quality of life.

Over the next few months, the full Wild Treasures’ curriculum will become available for free and thus enable teachers and students across the globe to connect science education and civic responsibility. Please check the site regularly for new material.

And please feel free to adapt the curriculum and let us know what you accomplish.

For More Information Contact:

Jimmy Karlan, EdD
Director, Science Teacher Certification
Founder & Senior Project Manager, Wild Treasures: Sustainability, Naturally
Antioch University New England
Department of Environmental Studies
40 Avon St.
Keene, NH 03431
Email Jimmy
Email Wild Treasures