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Teaching. Pass it On.

Goal: $16,000

Donated: $4,200

Donors: 36

Days to Go: 0

Video 3 - Green Schools

Donor Gifts | MEEA's Story | Where the Money Goes | About the Videos

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MEEA's Story

The formation of a professional educational organization in Missouri was conceived over 20 years ago by Governor Mel Carnahan's Task Force on Environmental Education.  In 1996, after several years of collaborative planning by the Department of Conservation, the Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Federation of Missouri, that organization came to life as the Missouri Environmental Education Association, or MEEA.

MEEA's mission is to help educators of all kinds, classroom teachers, non-formal educators, and parents, find the resources they need to educate Missourians of all ages. Initial efforts were aimed at an annual conference and quarterly newsletter, both packed with information on workshops, grants, lessons and curricula. Since then, MEEA has worked continuously to expand its offerings and expand its reach to all parts of the state. 

Conferences continue to be held regularly in the fall, but now they move around the state to make it easier for folks in different regions to attend a face-to-face event every few years and for people to learn about and appreciate different parts of our diverse state.  Our next conference is November 3-4 at the Kansas City Zoo. We also started carrying our message to other organizations at their conferences - the Association of Missouri Interpreters, Science Teachers of Missouri and the state Math and Science Education Conference - Interface. 

With the explosion of the internet, the newsletter expanded to monthly issues and the website expanded to include regularly updated information on workshops and grants, plus downloadable lessons, our unique Missouri Species Coloring Sheets and online environmental knowledge quizzes

In 2012, MEEA started a group of groups - the Missouri Environmental Literacy Advisory Board, or MELAB - as a way for agencies and organizations to network on state-level initiatives outside the conference.  Over the last 4 years it has helped draft state standards for environmental literacy, reviewed online assessments of environmental knowledge and launch a Missouri Green Schools program. Our next meeting is December 14 in Jefferson City. If your group has environmental education as part of its mission, you are welcome to join us!

In 2013 MEEA started its own mini-grant program, which provides $250 for an educator to carry out an environmental project at a school or park. Since then we have given out 24 grants to help start school gardens, build recycling programs, monitor water quality, take kids out on our big rivers, monitor raptors digitally, teach modeling of systems, and start composting. While the amount is modest, it allows educators to try their hand at writing a grant so bigger grants won't seem so out of reach. 

In early 2016 MEEA revamped its Environmental Educator Certification Program. The existing program required a heavy load of workshops that were hard to find,  and it was poorly aligned with national standards. We set out to make a program that would be more accessible throughout the state, be easier to complete in stages and that would line up with national standards so we could seek accreditation. The new program has four stages, most of its components are online and all of them fit or exceed national standards. Since its launch we have enrolled seven candidates, two of which have completed Level I and one of which has completed Level II.

We also took a page from the Science Teachers of Missouri and started offering a Free Basic Membership with all the privileges of Professional Membership except eligibiity for the mini-grants and certification. Our Professional Membership has held steady, but we have been able to triple the number of educators we reach on a monthly basis by offering this free membership.

And finally, in 2016 we started a Missouri Green Schools program, kicking off with nine school applicants, three of which were recognized at the national level at the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Ceremony this July . This was a joint effort by MEEA, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources.  Our goal for the program this year is to connect with the Department of Health and Senior Services and expand to schools in rural districts and other underserved populations. (Intent to apply nominations are due November 15!)

Since MEEA's  founding, we have worked hard to find and share, and when necessary, create resources and programs of all kinds for educators teaching about the environment. We have also worked hard to break down the silos that separate organizations and agencies so that they can, through collaboration and a sense of shared mission, be more effective in reaching and teaching all the citizens of Missouri.

Join us in this important work. Support MEEA today!

 

Where the Money Goes

MEEA is a professional membership organization for people who teach about the environment and people who know that teaching is key to developing a citizenry ready to take care of the environment.

MEEA's budget is organized into four main areas: PEOPLE (our website, newsletter, networking with other groups at their conferences and the Missouri Environmental Literacy Advisory Board), PURPOSE (our Environmental Educator Certification program, the annual Conference, the Environmental Educator Mini-Grants and Missouri Green Schools), RESOURCES (accounting expenses and fund development) and GOVERNANCE (board expenses and insurance). The major expenses are for staff, travel, the mini-grants, and services like accounting, insurance and web-based applications.

Our big project for 2017-2018 will be developing a more user friendly site for the Missouri Green Schools Program, to connect with the Department of Health and Senior Services and expand MGS to schools in rural districts and other underserved populations. (Intent to apply nominations are due November 15!)

Our funds come mainly from membership dues, grants and donations. In 2016 we began providing a Free Basic Membership in addition to our Regular Professional Membership. The slight impact on income from dues has been more than offset by our ability to reach three times as many educators.

Grants are tricky, because they can divert an organization from its own mission to that of the grantor. So we try to be thoughtful about the ones we choose. Most recently, we partnered with Missouri River Relief on a grant the helped them develop their educational outreach because helping them with that goal helped us with our mission.

That leaves donations. Donations give us the greatest freedom and flexibility in meeting our goals for environmental education. That is why they are so important. We are especially grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Missouri Environmental Fund's workplace giving campaigns. (If your workplace does these, check to see if MEF is part of the campaign).

If you would like to dig into our financials, you can check out our recent budgets and IRS 990 returns here.

 

You can count on us to make good use of your gift! Support MEEA today!