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MEEA helps educators inspire Missourians to care about, understand and act for their environment.

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New! Missouri Green Schools Program

Earth Quest: A game of Environmental Literacy

earth quest gameboard

Environmental Quizzes

K-2 biodiversity quiz

Coloring Sheets

channel catfish coloring sheet

Green Holidays Calendar

2018 MOGSEE logo

2018 Missouri Green Schools
and Environmental Education Conference

November 2-3

Jefferson Middle School - Columbia

Theme and Keynote


Submit a Proposal

Timeline & Schedule

Register Here
Online or by Mail

Event Sponsors

Conference Committee

MEEA Meeting
Plans for 2019


Download a flyer!


Theme - Taking Learning Outdoors

The greatest opportunities to learn science, math, English and social studies can be found by looking out the window. The school yard and the back yard are the first and best places for students to develop their understanding of place, because they are so accessible and can be experienced in so many ways over a day, a year or a life time. Once students connect to one place, they have a more solid context for broadening the boundaries of "place" from their community to the planet. Join us as we explore ways to use place-based learning as a way to develop knowledge, skills and understanding.

Keynote: Infusing Place Based Education with Collaborative Partnerships

Columbia Public Schools Science Coordinator, Mike Szydlowski, and Missouri River Relief’s Education Director, Kristen Schulte have been working to integrate place based education into the classroom through experiences on the Missouri River. They will share what it takes to collaborate on large and small scale place-based experiences that support the educational mission of both groups.

Meet Kristen Schulte-Missouri River Relief

Kristen Schulte has dedicated 14 years to a myriad of environmental education organizations and has been afforded the opportunity to work in 12 different National Parks across the country. Through these organizations, Kristen was inspired to complete a graduate program at the Teton Science Schools in Place Based Teaching. Afterwards, she attended the University of Wyoming and received her Master’s in Natural Science Education. In 2013, Kristen was proud to give back to the environmental education community with the development of the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps Education Curriculum, which has been downloaded over 19,000 times. In 2015, Kristen joined Missouri River Relief to help advance the mission of connecting people to the Missouri River. In this role, she works with schools, teachers, and students across the lower section of the Missouri River from Omaha to St. Louis.

Meet Mike Szydlowski - Columbia Public Schools

Mike Szydlowski is currently the K-12 Science Coordinator for the Columbia Public School District in Columbia, Missouri. He works with 100 secondary science teachers and 400 elementary science teachers in developing engaging science curriculum, assessments, professional development, and opportunities that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. He has developed elementary science assessments for each unit that measure both content and process skills in science. Mike also writes a weekly kids science article with comprehension questions for the Columbia Daily Tribune. In addition to running summer science workshops across the state, Mike takes 400+ students to Wyoming for a science immersion experience each June. Finally, Mike is the 2016 President of Science Teachers of Missouri.



Register online at or download a pdf and mail it in.

Regular registration $55

Special registration $35 (Retirees, Americorps, College Students, Conference Committee Members and Hands-on Presenters)

Youth 18 and under $0

Vendors $100


Location - Jefferson Middle School, Columbia

Jefferson Middle School - the Cyclones - has generously offered to donate meeting space for our 2018 Conference. Learn more about Jefferson Middle School

Address - 713 Rogers Street, Map JMS's Location

Jefferson Middle School Location

Parking and Building Directions - park in the lot on the north side of JMS and go in the entrance on the northwest side of the building.

Parking and Building Directions for JMS



Submit a Proposal

(Note about registration fees: Hands-on presenters will pay a discounted fee. Youth presenters under 18 will receive free registration. )

Submit your proposal online after reviewing the required information below

Download a proposal document for planning purposes. All proposals must be submitted online.



Preferred Format (pick one)

Alternative Format (same list as above, pick one)

Strand (pick one)


Title - Use ten words or less.

Session Presenters - List presenters followed by their affiliations. If all are affiliated with the same institution, put that last. If any presenters are youth 12-23, put an asterisk after their names.

Session Description - Use 35 words or less.

Keywords - Use any combination of connections, MLS, NGSS, or what people should know, understand, and/or be able to do that you provided elsewhere on this form. Use seven words or less.

Submission Deadlines


2018 Timeline

Hands-on Presentations and Bright Spots Deadline - August 4

Registration Opens - September 1

Bright Spot, Poster and Table Talk Deadline - October 10

Early Bird Registration Deadline - October 15

Pre-Conference Field Trip and Social - November 2

Registration Closes - November 3 10:00 am

Conference - November 2 - 3



Friday November 2

Field Trip 3:30 to 5:30 pm

Tour three different school gardens to find out how they are set up, how they work, and what students learn from them.

Social 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Join us at Rock Bridge Elementary for pizza at 6:00, conversation and a selection of short videos on how students benefit from being outdoors.


Celebrating Environmental Education (3:04)- NAAEE - 40 years of environmental and social challenges addressed by environmental educators all over the world -

Missouri River Relief and Columbia Public Schools (1:34) - MRR - How being on the river can be applied to classroom learing -

Chickenologists (3:11) - Maplewood Richmond Heights District (GRS) - Learn about ways chickens can contribute to the school community - PLWOtrYhRV9x7ntnPVt9TcLvB8Cic-sBwD&index=4

Project IDEA (2:52) - W. W. Keysor Elementary School (GRS)- Keysor kids sing about being outdoors in Project IDEA -

Experiential Learning (2:47) - The College School - Thematic education covers all the bases -

Anoymous Street Art (3:54) - Raintree School - Kids at Raintree School are inspired by nature and art -

Jumping into Science (4:03)- Archbold Biology Station - A rural research station partners with a plant production facility to provide a program for the workers' kids -


Saturday November 3



Room 145


Room 144


Room 143

Nuts & Bolts

Room 142

MEEA Sessions

7:00 Registration and Check-in - Commons
7:45 Welcome - Room 130
8:00 Connecting Youth with Nature Fly, Crawl, Walk, Flutter or Buzz into Pollination Connecting Your School Garden to the Community

Missouri Environmental Educator Certification

Break - Commons
9:30 School Gardens: The Living Laboratory Saving Endangered Species Classroom Management in the Outdoors Missouri Green Schools Program
Break - Commons
Keynote - Room 130
Awards & Announcements - Room 130
Lunch - Pick Up in Commons, Eat in 142-145
12:45 Nature as Classroom Activities for the Anthropocene Grant Writing MEEA Resources for Educators
Break - Commons
MEEA Meeting (with snacks)



Session Descriptions

Environmental Education for PreK-5 Students

Connecting Youth with Nature through the Nature of Teaching (PreK-5, 8:00 am)
Rebecca Busse, Purdue University
Session Description: The Nature of Teaching provides K-5 instructors with standards-based curricula about wildlife, food waste, and health and wellness. Participants will participate in select activities and walk away with example materials to use in their classroom. (K-2, 3-5 standards)
Session Activities: The workshop begins with a brief introduction on the benefits of nature and the Nature of Teaching resources. Participants will have an opportunity to try the track casting activity and the pretty vs. ugly foods taste testing activity. Then they will have time to collaborate and present on program planning and how they would use the activities in their teaching.
Keywords: Wildlife, Food Waste, Health and Wellness, Standards-based, K-5
Resources: Attendees will receive full lesson plans for the activities in the workshop, links to other online resources, and track casts.

School Gardens: The Living Laboratory (PreK-5, 9:30 am)
Lucy Herleth, Gateway Greening - St. Louis
Session Description: Turn your schoolyard into a living laboratory! Learn how you can use outdoor spaces to meet classroom goals. This session will dive deep into soil lessons and introduce Gateway Greening’s elementary Seed-to-STEM curriculum. (K-2, 3-5 standards)
Session Activities: The session begins with an outdoor scavenger hunt that can be used to teach elementary to middle school science vocabulary. Then the GG Seed-to-STEM curriculum that connects garden activites to NGSS and MLS will be outlined and several of the lessons can be sampled, including pumpkin decomposition and soil shake. The session will conclude with time to connect your own classroom goals and objectives to the resources and your school's outdoor spaces. 
Keywords: School Garden, NGSS, Composting, Sustainbility
Resources: Attendees will receive a Gateway Greening StL/MO planting calendar, a Garden Development Outline, K-5 Seed to STEM curriculum outline, Fall Lesson plans and access to online winter and spring lesson plans.

Nature as Classroom - A Year-long, Place-based Study with Elementary Students (PreK-5, 12:45 pm)
Emily Reynolds, Rock Bridge Elementary - Columbia
Session Description: Explore an example of implementing place-based education with elementary students throughout a school year. Attendees will learn about placed-based education, as well as participate in hands-on activities that can be used with students. (K-2 standards)
Session Activities: Attendees will will sketch or write about a place that was important to them as a child and then share with one another. Emily will introduec key concepts about place-based education, using resources from her own professional learning experiences. Afterwards, we will engage in an activity called "I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of" as we take a walk outside (indoors, if inclement weather). We will then explore the importance of allowing students to ask questions and how their questions can lead to inquiry about a place. Back inside, Emily will introduce the Science Circle (another name for Scientific Process) and engage attendees in an activity in which they use the Science Circle to describe an experience they have had in their daily life.
Keywords: Place-based Learning, Nature, Inquiry, Questions, Change, Living Things.
Resources: Attendees will be provided access to online learning materials for place-based instruction.

Environmental Education for 6-12 Students

Fly, Crawl, Walk, Flutter or Buzz into Pollination (6-12, 8:00 am)
Christine Li, University of Missouri - Columbia, Amber Edwards, Prairie Fork Conservation Area - Columbia
Session Description: Learn more about pollinators and their natural habitats through hands on activities as well as classroom ready learning materials. Don’t BEE afraid to buzz away with excitement about pollinators! (6-8 standards)
Session Activities: We will introduce three hands-on activities adapted from Missouri Pollinator Stewards for middle school curriculum - how to observe insects, plant anatomy - what is pollen anyway?, and who are the native pollinators and what kind of habitat do they need. The session will include time to discuss how to use this in the classroom.
Keywords: Pollinators, E-STEM, Habitats, Insects, Biodiversity, Interactions
Resources: Attendees will receive printed curriculum and educational materials from Missouri Pollinator Stewards, including lesson plans with Missouri Learning Standards, and reference materials.

Saving Endangered Species: What Can Students Do? (6-12), 9:30 am)
Maggie McCoy, Endangered Wolf Center - St. Louis, Lauren Toivonen - University of Missouri
Session Description: Participants will engage in four activities that can be used to talk about recovering endangered species with older students. The discussion will center on how students can become involved in conservation. (6-8, 9-12 standards)
Session Activities: This hands-on session will focus on how to discuss endangered species and their recovery, with a specific focus on red wolves. First, we will cover the basics of food webs by playing a game about how energy travels through ecosystems. We will also examine what happens to these food webs when predators are removed. Next, there will be an activity about how biologists track animals in the wild. Educators will have the opportunity to use a real radio collar and antenna. At the end, we will discuss how biologists determine where to release endangered species and create a performance task that allows students to develop their own release plan. This involves examining and evaluating the suitability of habitat, maps of habitats, and the opinions and needs of stakeholders. There will be time at the end for questions and discussion, with a focus on how students can become involved in the process.
Keywords: Endangered Species, Biology, Biodiversity, Environment, Recovery
Resources: Attendees will be able to take home copies of the lesson plans and templates for the activity materials.

Activities for the Anthropocene (6-12, 12:45 pm)
Sandy Hamar, Columbia College - Columbia
Session Description: This hands-on session explores how humans have shaped the earth and atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Discover interdisciplinary lessons that bring human ecology concepts into the social studies, math and science classrooms. (6-8, 9-12 standards)
Session Activities: Scientists are now referring to our current geological age as “The Anthropocene” to emphasize the impact that humans have had on the land, seas, climate and wildlife over the past 200 years. Teaching about the Anthropocene integrates environmental studies with world history and geography, making for interdisciplinary lessons rich in content, real-world data and problem-solving challenges. In this hands-on session, discover classroom activities and interactive online resources to help students explore different aspects of the Anthropocene, including human population growth, climate change, changes in biodiversity and land use. Sandy will begin with a brief overview of the concepts to be covered. She will then present a series of activities that build knowledge and skills in life and social sciences, while applying learning to authentic problems. Activity formats include data analysis and interpretation, modeling, role-playing and group problem-solving. Janice will also engage the group with new online, interactive media that combines social science platforms (mapping and historical timelines) with environmental themes. There will be time at the end of the session for discussion.
Keywords: Human Population Growth, Sustainability, Resource Use, Interdisciplinary Learning
Resources: Session participants will receive an access code to a password-protected website of lesson plans and background materials. They will also receive paper copies of relevant worksheets for the session as well as a wall chart.

Nuts and Bolts for Environmental Education

Connecting Your School Garden to the Community (N&B, 8:00 am)
Jennifer Grabner, Missouri River Communities Network - Columbia
Session Description: Learn how to incorporate sustainability into your garden planning by building a network of community connections.
Session Activities:
Keywords: Garden, Networking

Classroom Management in the Outdoors (N&B, 12:45 pm)
Session Description: Learn how to apply the same strategies, procedures and protocols you use indoors in an outdoor setting to ensure your students have a safe and effective learning experience.
Session Activities:
Keywords: Outdoors, Behavior

Grant Writing (N&B, 9:30 am)
Jan Weaver, Missouri Environmental Education Association
Session Description: Learn how to draft a white paper for your program needs, find a grant program that funds the work you are doing and write a grant proposal that meets the funder's requirements.
Session Activities:
Keywords: Grant Writing, Funding


MEEA Environmental Education Programs and Resources

Missouri Environmental Educator Certification (MEEA, 8:00 am)
Jan Weaver, MEEA - Columbia
Session Description: Learn what it takes to become certified as an environmental educator in Missouri, how Missouri's program fits in with national certification and how it does and does not benefit you in Missouri.
Session Activities: Participants will have a chance to try out an activity in each of the first three levels of EE certification
Keywords: Environmental Education, Certification, Professional Development
Resources: Attendees will receive an outline of the North American Association for Environmental Education's Guidelines for the Preparation of Environmental Educators

Missouri Green Schools (MEEA, 9:30 am)
Jan Weaver, MEEA - Columbia
Session Description: Learn about Missouri's Green Schools program, how it aligns with the US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program and how being a green school can benefit your school's bottom line, health and student learning.
Session Activities: After a brief introduction to the program, attendees will use score sheets to evaluate the performance of three different schools. Afterwards, there will be time to discuss how their own schools might benefit from using scoring to assess their strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for greening their institutions.
Keywords: Green Schools, Energy Efficiency, Conservation, School Health, Learning

MEEA Resources for Educators (MEEA, 12:45 pm)
Andy Klingensmith, Shaw Nature Reserve, St. Louis
Session Description: Learn about MEEA's online resources for educators and how to use them to integrate EE into their teaching.
Session Activities: Participants will use the MEEA coloring sheets to construct food webs, the Earth Quest game to test their knowledge and visual essays to discuss difficult issues.
Resources: Attendees will receive samples of some of the resources and links to the others

Bright Spots - Short Topical Presentations

Zoo ALIVE members and byetobags campaign

Zoo-ALIVE Teen Volunteers help reduce plastic waste with #byetobags Program.
Sarah Lavelle*, Miles Bradford*, Catherine Glick*, Zoo ALIVE Teen Volunteers at the Saint Louis Zoo
Session Description: Three Zoo ALIVE Teen Volunteers will present on the Saint Louis Zoo's #byetobags program. They will describe how #byetobags has grown, why it is an important program to have, and why they support it.

Barstow Students Helping Reduce Waste and Educate about the Environment
Sage Holmes, Clara Ketchell, Abby Hart, the Barstow School
Session Description: In this session, presenters will explain how a student led group designed and implemented an environmental education club and a comprehensive composting and recycling program for a K-12 school.

Brandon and Leah Powell

MDC Jr. Leaders Program
Deah Powell*, MDC Jr. Leader - Southwest MO, Branden Powell*, MDC Jr. Leader - Southwest MO, Melvin Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator - MDC Jr. Leader Program Southwest MO
Session Description - 2018 Choose Environmental Excellence MDC Jr. Leader Recipients will explain the MDC Jr. Leader Program, how they provide educational awareness to students, educators, and the public, and why it is important to them.




Table Talks - Drop in / Drop out as Educators Demo /Share Cool Ideas

Carbon in the Air, pH and Sequestration in the Ocean
Geoffrey Stillwell, Master Naturalist - Great Rivers Chapter
Session Description: A simple model that describes oceanic carbon sequestration, sedimentation, and PH in response to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations using algebra and chemistry. Will illustrate with Excel and NOAA model.

Agroforestry Applications for the Life Sciences
Hannah Hemmelgarn, Education Program Coordintaor - University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry
Session Description: Agroforestry integrates life science concepts into real-world applications for natural resource management. Explore ways to integrate perennial plants and fungi into your outdoor classroom. Full curriculum available online at

MDC Jr. Leaders Program
Deah Powell*, MDC Jr. Leader - Southwest MO, Branden Powell*, MDC Jr. Leader - Southwest MO, Melvin Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator - MDC Jr. Leader Program Southwest MO
Session Description - 2018 Choose Environmental Excellence MDC Jr. Leader Recipients will explain the MDC Jr. Leader Program, and answer questions in one-on-one &/or small group discussions.

Integrating the Missouri River into Your Classroom 
Kristen Schulte, Education Director of Missouri River Relief 
Session Description - Build your understanding of how human choices have affected the Missouri River’s rhythm while discovering new instructional strategies for investigating the mysteries behind the River. 

Wild Folk Learning Community
Robin Crouch*, Rachel Gardner*, Loic Chabu*, Phaelen Miller*, Leona Miller*, Carina Hawks*, Polina Malikin, Anna Wilson, Jenny Hipscher, Dan Miller, Wild Folk
Session Description - Come to our table to learn about Wild Folk, Columbia's only forest school! Wild Folk weaves together experiential, place-based learning, diverse mentorship, creative play, skill-based education, democratic decision-making, and collaborative community-building.

Place-Based Preschool Nature Play
Laura Seger, Manager of Learning Experiences  Kelsey Navin, Early Childhood Supervisor  Sarah Ghidina, Early Childhood Educator,  Saint Louis Zoo  
Session Description - Explore some of the tools and hear stories of how we connect young children to their local habitats and foster a sense of empathy for the animals and plants that share these spaces with us.

MEEA Resources
MEEA Board Members
Session Description - Find out aobut MEEA's teaching and learning resources, EE certification, and Missouri Green Schools

CoMo Office of Sustainability
City of Columbia Staff
Session Description - Learn about Columbia Mo's Sustainability Initiatives and how they can be incorporated into student learning


Infusing Place-based Missouri River Instruction into Elementary Classroom 
Ben Herman, PhD, University of Missouri   Kristen Schulte, Missouri River Relief  R. Tanner Oertli, Sarah Poor, and Blake Romaker, University of Missouri   
Session Description - This project entails a collaborative effort between the University of Missouri, Missouri River Relief, and Columbia Public Schools that investigates how a month long program that transitions place-based informal science education experiences into elementary classrooms influences students’ Missouri River engagement. 




2018 MOGSEE Supporters