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Earth Quest: A game of Environmental Literacy

Earth Quest

Environmental Quizzes

High School Health Quiz Image

Coloring Sheets

Green Holidays Calendar

2016 MOGSEE Conference Logo

The conference is past,
but you can check out descriptions of the presentations below


Theme and Strands


Friday Field Trip

Conference Program

Event Sponsors




Theme and Strands - Down to Earth: Project and Place-Based Learning

The theme was Project and Place-Based Learning. Strands for this conference included Climate Change, The Ozarks, Teaching in Rural Communities and Project and Place-Based Learning.



Springfield Gardens

Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park was the site of the 2016 conference. We enjoyed the displays and a chance to get outside and experience the gardens.This 114-acre site includes: Master Gardner Demonstration Gardens, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, The Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House, the Gray-Campbell Farmstead, the Springfield Host Lions Club History Walk, the Federated Garden Club Perennial Garden, NatureGrounds demonstration play ground, dozens of specialty gardens made possible by the Friends of the Garden and access to the South Creek Greenway Trail


Field Trip

Watershed Center Field Trip

Guided Tour of the Watershed Center and Valley Water Mill Park

The Watershed Center is home base of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, locted at. Valley Water Mill Park. It is a microcosm of the Ozarks with streams, springs, a lake, caves, sinkholes, and diverse types of habitat. A 2.5 mile walking/nature trail winds around the 17 acre lake through a variety of habitats such as wetlands, forests, glades, and savannas. The Watershed Center is a LEED certified, energy and water conserving building. Numerous Best Management Practices (BMP’s) are demonstrated, including pervious pavement, a vegetated “green” roof, rain garden, and a rainwater harvesting system.


Friday Night Social

Friday Night Social

Attendees gathered at the Green Stay hotel for pizza and to watch "Green Fire" a documentary about Aldo Leopold.

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

The impact of his own gunshot from a rimrock in Arizona changed Aldo Leopold’s own thinking about the land, leading to the key insight that was the culmination of his life’s work: a responsibility for its health. Join us as we trace Leopold’s personal journey and follow the threads that connect to his legacy today.



Welcome to the Springfield Conference

Seventy formal and non-formal educators attended the conference, packing into the Springfield Botanical Center's main conference space for a welcome delivered by MEEA Board President Mary McCarthy.


Plenary - Missouri Climate Trends, Past, Present and Future

Pat Guinan, Missouri Climate Trends, Past, Present and Future

Pat Guinan, State Meteorologist, delivered the Plenary Address: Missouri Climate Trends, Past, Present and Future. (this file is 22 MB, give it time to download)

Keynote - GLADE: Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems

Keynote Speakers

Our keynote speakers Brooke Widmar and Zach Morris are graduates of GLADE and will speak about how outdoor and environmental education has inspired them to take leadership roles in the Ozarks.




Sessions are mini-workshops, 60 minutes, interactive, aligned with Missouri Environmental Literacy Standards and Next Generation Science Standards

  1. Exploring the EE in New Missouri Learning Standards
  2. Place Based Learning Using Discover Nature Schools
  3. The Nature of Wonder
  4. Places We Live - Using PLT to Celebrate Ozarks Culture
  5. Elements of an Effective Program Assessment Plan
  6. Classroom Connections on Population, Consumption, Climate
  7. Schoolcraft in the Early Ozarks
  8. A New Look at Karst
  9. Teaching in Rural Schools Panel



1. Exploring the EE in the NEW MLS (MO Learning Standards)!
Linda Lacy, MEEA Board Member

Teachers will leave with a deeper understanding of the 3-dimensional expectations of the new standards aligned with EE, as well as ideas for implementation.   


2. Classroom Connections on Population, Consumption and Climate
Deborah Wilson, Population Connection

Human impact on the environment is determined by how we use resources (consumption) and how many of us are using those resources (population).  Today's greatest environmental challenge, climate change, is a largely human-made phenomenon. The rise of greenhouse gas emissions has mirrored the rise in human population and the rise in industrialization over the past two centuries. In this interdisciplinary, hands-on workshop, participants will engage in inquiry-based activities that help students understand the connections between human population pressures, natural resource consumption and carbon emissions that lead to global warming.  Presented strategies include concept-mapping, cooperative group problem solving, graphing and analysis, role-playing simulations and resource-allocation games.  The presenter will also provide guidance on leading positive, solution-oriented discussions with students about sustainable practices. 


3. Place Based Learning Using Discover Nature Schools
Jay Barber, Missouri Department of Conservation

Jay Barber, Place Based Education
Participants will gain insight using the Discover Nature Schools curriculum from the Department of Conservation.  They will investigate bird feeder behavior using a simulated activity with supporting resources provided.  Also, they will investigate one of Missouri’s many ecosystems and how plants and animals interact with one another.

  Discover Nature Schools Programs Summary (pdf)



4.Schoolcraft in the Early Ozarks
Bob Kipfer, Historian

Bob Kipfer, As Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft Bio (pdf)

A reenactment of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in period costume.  Emphasis on landscape ecology and changes then to now.  Covering social change from Native American trading to hunter based early settlers to land use over the last 200 years.  Discuss mapping then and now with available resources.  Opportunities for student research to deepen student knowledge and understanding of the impact humans have on the ecosystem.  Additional opportunities for students to correlate their research into NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas, Earth and Space Science: Earth and Human Activity strand



5. Places We Live--Using PLT to Celebrate Ozarks Culture
Erica Cox, Missouri Project WET and Project Learning Tree

For this interactive session, I will focus on the unique culture of the Ozarks, from a historical perspective and how that may impact our teaching and interpretive programming decisions. We will begin by watching a short video clip of an Ozarks' original, Mitch Jayne, to get an idea of what teaching was like in the middle 20th century in southern Missouri.  We'll also use a Project Learning Tree Secondary module activity from "Places We Live" to celebrate the Ozarks (and other regions of Missouri) to provide an activity to share with students or with the public in interpretive programs.  



6. The Nature of Wonder
Katie Navin, St. Louis Zoo

Navin, Wonder of Nature Workshop

Connecting young children to the natural world around them is easier than you think! Join us as we learn many ways to bring the outdoors into the classroom and across the curriculum. Educators will gain confidence in exploring local habitats and modeling sustainable behaviors for their students. We will explore concrete ways in which children can help local wildlife  while learning strategies to encourage observation and questioning, and increase critical thinking skills.  Learn to make your own pollinator house, and create a nature journal and flower press to take home.    Encouraging curiosity and a sense of wonder in nature at an early age lays the foundation for a lifetime of advocating to protect it. Discover simple ways to help them connect with local habitats, while introducing science investigation skills.

The Nature of Wonder (pdf)       



7. Elements of an Effective Program Assessment Plan
Kristen Schulte, Missouri River Relief

A significant amount of effort and resources goes towards developing and implementing education programs, that is why capturing and measuring your impact is important. Whether you are implementing a workshop for educators or a program for youth, it can be a lot to try to capture; this session seeks to identify elements for creating a effective assessment plan for your education program using examples from Missouri River Relief. 

Elements of an Effective Program Assessment Plan (pdf)


8. A New Look at Karst
David A. Gaunt

Sinkholes of Green County Map

Karst will always be an issue in areas with limestone bedrock and high humidity. (See map above - sinkholes in the Springfield - Greene Co. area). The slightly (naturally) acidic rainwater causes the limestone to dissolve over time, leading to sudden and often unpredictable collapses of surface soil and rock into underground caverns. Siting of buildings over karst has lead to collapse-related property damage. However, new technologies like Lidar can help with understanding Karst better and help prevent problems.

A New Look at Karst (pptx)



Table Talks

For Table Talks, each presenter gets a table to set up a display or activity and conference attendees go from table to table spending as much or as little time as they like gathering tips and ideas for their own teaching. It is very informal and full of energy.

  1. Waste Not, Want Not
  2. George W. Carver: Environmental Educator
  3. Knowledge and Tools: MO DNR Youth Education and Interpretation
  4. Toxic Trouble in Paradise
  5. Missouri's EE Certification Program
  6. Missouri Master Naturalists - Springfield
  7. Measuring Collective Impact of Youth Education Programs in Missouri


1. Waste Not Want Not!
Laurie Duncan, Springfield Environmental Services

Waste Not, Want Not

Discovery resources available from City of Springfield's Dept. of Environmental Services.  Field trips, classroom presentations, materials lending area and more!

From solid waste to waste water to yard waste to recycling, City of Springfield's Dept. of Environmental Services has a variety of resources available.  Find out about how to schedule a field trip to the landfill, wastewater treatment plant or yard waste recycling center.  Discover how to schedule our Education Outreach Specialist to visit your classroom for a presentation, as well as some of the possible topics we have available.  Learn about the materials and resources that are available to check out for use in your classroom.  Walk away with new information and ideas!

Springfield Environmental Services (website)


2. George W. Carver: Environmental Educator
Dr. Edward Williamson, Drury University

George Washington Carver

George Carver was born into slavery. Through courage and hard work he rose to worldwide fame. Education and environmentalism were central themes of his life.

This Table Talk will center on the life and work of George W. Carver, famous Missouri educator and environmentalist. From his humble beginnings in slavery on a farm near Diamond, Missouri Carver faced adversity and discrimination but never wavered in his determination to obtain an education. After earning degrees in Iowa he devoted the remainder of his life to helping farmers, especially in the South, deal with agricultural problems. His solutions centered around environmental themes and resonate today more than 70 years after his passing. Carver learned these environmental lessons as a young orphaned boy struggling with prejudice. He remains a revered figure in educational and environmental circles. This presentation will include information on his life, education, work and legacy along with providing resources for current educators in the areas of environmental education, equality and social justice issues and Missouri's educational history.

George Washington Carver (pdf)


3. Knowledge and Tools: MO DNR Youth Education and Interpretation
Rob Hunt, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Sources of Electrical Power US

Find out what MO DNR Youth Education and Interpretation has to offer Teachers and Youth Leaders in Missouri through our new interactive website.

MO DNR Youth Education and interpretation is building a website where teachers and youth leaders will be able to engage with the department and it's mission: to  protect our air, land and water; preserve our unique natural and historic places; and provide recreational and learning opportunities for everyone. Through this one-stop-shop, you will be able to find 5-E lesson plans aligned to middle-school standards, interactive maps to connect to local field scientists and nearby State Parks and Historic Sites, and activities and resources that are developed with real Missouri-specific scientific research.     We will take a look at the resources available and maybe get a sneak-peek at upcoming additions to the site.



4. Toxic Trouble in Paradise
Valarie McEuen

Valarie McEuen

Two rural teachers explored the effects of plastic in the Pacific Gyre and how it is effecting Hawaii's ecosystem.

Learn about this amazing opportunity for rural teachers to gain first hand learning experience by designing a learning adventure to enhance their curriculum.  Thanks to the Rural Teacher Global Fellowship, Kelly Wardle, first grade teacher in Willow Springs, MO and Valarie McEuen, high school art teacher in Bourbon, MO, were awarded a grant to see the effects of plastic pollution in the Pacific ocean and the damage it is causing Hawaiian ecosystems.  These teachers now have first hand experience with this ever increasing problem and may now use their knowledge to help rural students to make the connections between human actions on land which directly help to cause plastic pollution in the ocean.  

Toxic Trouble in Paradise (website)


5. Missouri Environmental Education Certification
Dr. Jan Weaver, Missouri Environmental Education Association

Missouri launched an EE Certification program in August of 2016 to guide educators in professional development and to recognize their accomplishments.

The program has an application and 4 levels: Knowledge (6 quizzes); Understanding (2 projects and 30 hours of approved workshops; Skills and Dispositions (2 projects and 4 skills badges); Mentoring (helping other candidates complete certification.


6. Missouri Master Naturalists - Springfield Chapter
Melvin Johnson

Master Naturalists Table Talk

Master Naturalist Melvin Johnson shared information on all aspects of the Missouri Master Naturalist program.


7. Measuring Collective Impact of Youth Education Programs in Missouri
Dr. Christine Li, University of Missouri Natural Resources

Evaluation is a critical component of creating high-quality, sustainable environmental education program everyone wants. Dr. Li is interested in learning and collaborating with formal and non-formal educators in Missouri to conduct evaluation studies.

Measuring Collective Impact of Youth Education Programs (pdf)



Community or Grass-roots Organization - James River Basin Partnership

JRBP's on-site sewage treatment education and lawn nutrient education programs have reached thousands and significantly reduced nutrient loading in the James River Basin. JRBP also partners with Springfield on stormwater management for rural homes and businesses.

Organization, Agency or Business - Watershed Committee of the Ozarks

The mission of WCO is to improve and protect the Springfield and Greene county water supply. As part of that mission it has helped communities with watershed management planning, worked with local universities on promoting domestic water conservation with students, built a watershed center focused on education and developed an onsite wastewater training center to educate landowners about their septic systems. Current projects include monitoring wells, holding a Land Ethic Leaders workshop and Adopt-A-Spring

Student or Student Organization - Missouri Southern State University Biology Club

Since 2014 the MSSU Biology Club has organized and carried out these activities to help their region – deer aging in November 2014, a plant sale for Earth Day in 2015, a clean up of Turkey Creek in October of 2015, deer aging again in 2015, setting up 20 nesting boxes for Prothonotoy Warblers at Wildcat Glades in March 2016, a trail clean up in April 2016, an Earth Day display with monarchs, milkweed seeds, rain gardens and bats, and a September 2016 clean up of Shoal Creek.

Outstanding Service Award to an Individual - Cathy Backs, Grace the Earth

She and her siblings started an organization called "Grace The Earth", in honor of her mother Grace.  Every year they have a festival in Lockwood that encompasses pretty much the entire town.  Her organization also helped the Lockwood Library get a grant from MEEA for environmentally themed books.

Lifetime Outstanding Service Award to an Individual - Melvin Johnson, Springfield-Greene County Parks Board (ret), Missouri Master Naturalist

Over his long and distinguised career, Melvin has received many awards and certifications for both his paid and volunteer efforts to connect audiences of all ages with nature. His key piece of advice for having an impact - make sure they get their boots muddy!





Springfield Environmental Services Springfield Botanical Gardens



Bass Pro

Larry P. O'Reilly and Family Foundation

Larry P. O'Reilly and Family Foundation




MO DNR Logo Watershed Committee of the Ozarks Missouri State University Missouri State University Bull Shoals Field Station