Missouri Environmental Literacy Advisory Board

A network of organizations, agencies and businesses working to advance environmental literacy in Missouri.


This work is supported by a grant from the U.S. EPA

Header Picture Captions: Left to Right: Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial S.P. Nature Detectives, Summer 2010; Academie Lafayette, Kansas City, Stream Class; Sustain Mizzou Green Team recycling at an MU home football game, Columbia. If you have pictures of your students learning aout or working in the environment (with permissions) send them to weaverjc@missouri.edu and we will post them.

MELAB Work Group: Green Schools/Careers

March 13, 2012 Meeting Notes

#4 – Careers 

Co-Chairs – Emily Webb, Susan Flowers

Participants – Teresa Chase (USFS), Frieda Ervazi (Lincoln University), Matt Riggs (KCEEN), Dave Stous (River Relief), Emily Webb (Girl Scouts NW Mo), Faye Walmsley (NPS)

Need – Mo students going into “traditional” green jobs; all careers are green and sustainable; much like OSHA (all businesses need a sustainability coordinator) under one umbrella

Actions – opportunities: career paths; exposure to careers; hands on career exposure; green your future; mentoring

Outcomes – spreadsheet; career piece in curriculum; unemployment office; greater awareness/transparency; economic development buy-in; job retraining; urban green awareness to career path, focus on urban population

Plan– research, start with career clusters on MO DESE website

November 13, 2012 Meeting Notes

Green Schools/Careers
Debbie Brunner, Steve Burdic, Brandi Cartwright, Clara Coleman, Susan Flowers, Alicia LaVaute, Tana Pulles, KatyMike Smaistrla

Vision: Missouri should have a recognition process for schools wanting to work toward a variety of national green school programs. Since there are national programs already developed, the committee doesn’t see any value in recreating a statewide program; only need to focus on recognition and resources.

Goals: The committee feels that the mission of MELAB should fit the green schools recognition. Therefore, providing support in environmental education should be promoted through the Missouri program.


  1. MELAB Web page
  2. Self-check document for schools
  3. Connect St. Louis, K.C., Springfield, Joplin through the U.S. Green Building Council


  1. Get resources and self-check sheet online.
    1. review the checklist and make sure listed items are in the right category
    2. set up a first steps category (items like collect baseline data)
  2. Add MELAB membership to Web page to show statewide support,
  3. Add “Why be a Healthy Green School” to the website—include introduction of environmental careers – listing
  4. Invite Kansas and Texas Green Schools organizers to meet with us
  5. contact USGBC for statewide support

Other notes:
Consider magnet schools, private schools (Shaun Bates has a contact), MU Extension for outreach, EPA Energy star to help schools with baseline data, national Green Ribbon Schools winners from St. Louis, PTA in schools, City councils, Missouri School Plant Managers Association, college interns matched with schools, name for Missouri: “Healthy and Green Schools”, award participation, include early childhood centers/schools, create brochures, consider Governor proclamation  

November Follow-up Discussion

Jan Weaver -

Just wanted to follow up on last week's MELAB meeting with a few questions to keep the discussion going.

There is no single national green schools program. There are dozens, possibly as many as 50. Some programs may have a specific focus, like energy or outdoor education, or they are really general – so place based resources are not provided.

The Green Ribbon Schools Department of Education recognizes a limited number of schools from each state that meet or exceed their criteria. It is only available to schools whose state departments of education opted in (MO did not this year). On the other hand, its standards are the most comprehensive.

The Green Schools National Network has a conference and provides resources for state green schools programs and for schools, including a green print for becoming green, but does not set standards or have a formal certification or recognition process for schools. Its next conference is Feb 22-24 in West Palm Beach Florida http://www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org

I have included outlines of two state programs with links below – Kansas and Kentucky (there is no Texas program). Here is a link to the Green Schools National Network http://www.greenschoolsnationalnetwork.org/state-networks for more state programs and more information about the network.

1. Because there are so many choices, should Missouri provide some guidance to schools by setting up a Missouri green schools program to recognize schools and help with resources? It could be really simple, basic and free or cheap for schools. It would not preclude a school joining one of the many (many, many) national programs, but it could help Missouri strengthen its network of EE provides and users.

2. If MO should set up a program, what elements should it start with? Check out the descriptions below Kansas and Kentucky for ideas
Standards (these could come from Green Ribbon Schools or from other states)
Resources to help schools meet standards
Recognition of schools that accomplish green or sustainability goals

Kansas Green Schools Program - http://www.kansasgreenschools.org
Free sign up connects you with a network and resources – each school gets a profile page
You can also join a recognition program by
declaring intent,
setting up a green team,
getting PD,
doing investigations,
developing and imp
celebrating efforts and
developing a School pledge.
Schools are certified by April 1 every year

Program is supported by – KACEE, Dept of Health and Environment, Dept of Ag, State Energy Office, Staples and Koch Industries

Higher levels require more buy-in by school body. Some resources are only available to schools that join the recognition program. There is a rubric for each level at http://www.kansasgreenschools.org/apply-recognition

Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools - http://www.greenschools.ky.gov/join/
There are teacher resources and checklists available without signing up
To become a GH school you
Sign up and complete a short training
Form a team
Choose a category
Submit an inventory
Submit a project proposal
Submit a report

Debbie Brunner - November 20, 2012

Hi Jan,
I thought the mighty Texans J took credit for Green Ribbon Schools- even before Secretary Duncan in D.C. developed the U.S. Green Ribbon initiative through Dept. of Education. Check this out and tell me what you know about their beginning: http://www.greenribbonschools.org/about.php. There are three Missouri schools listed as participants:
Wydown Middle - Clayton, Mo
Immaculate Conception School - Macon, Mo
Visitation Academy - Saint Louis, Mo
I agree with you about the many opportunities for schools to become green, and that MELAB should celebrate the small and large success stories.
Happy Thanksgiving,

Katy Mike Smaistrla - November 20, 2012

Hi there –
To share a few resources & my $0.02 as well:

1. From the STL region, the US Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Green Schools Committee

a. Hope Gribble and Erik Lueders are contacts for that committee
b. Meetings are 4th Wednesday of the month, 11:00 am-12:30 pm, in the USGBC office at the Missouri Botanical Garden
c. Their resources can be found online at http://www.usgbc-mogateway.org/green-schools-k-12/
d. Their “Green Schools Resource Binder” and the USGBC’s “Roadmap to Green Campus” and all of the other guides & resources are helpful
e. The USGBC national clearinghouse: The Center for Green Schools

2. The Green Schools National Network

a. GSNN President Jim McGrath (Tel: 507-895-7130) may be a good one to contact to get a better idea of what’s happening at the national level.
b. GSNN came up with a “Green Print for Green and Healthy Schools,” which was reviewed and vetted by organizations around the country, expanding beyond just typical enviro ed groups
c. GSNN supported a review of 80 different "assessments" being used within the K-12 arena and made a proposal for a self-assessment system, similar to AASHE Stars program. According to Jenny Seydel off the Green School list serve, that document is still waiting in the wings… So it sounds like there is movement to create a national program, complete with metrics, but we just don’t know what it is yet.
d. In fact, it sounds to me like the GSNN is poised to become the AASHE of k-12. (AASHE in turn, was modeled after USGBC, fyi.) They’ve already started working with the state-level networks Jan referenced below, and are gaining momentum. The GSNN conference in February is only in its 3rd or 4th year and is growing by leaps & bounds – just like the AASHE & Greenbuild conferences.

In my humble opinion, if MEEA is to assist with forming a MO state-wide network, it would be in the best interest to gather stakeholders and not try to tackle the job alone. I would jump on the GSNN bandwagon, not build my own!

Tana Pulles December 5, 2012

A good green school model to check out. Additionally the Washington state learning standards may provide direction and language useful for a proposal to DESE.

State of Washington “Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards” (2009) *LINK FOUND UNDER PROGRAM INFO, LEFT SIDEBAR
*pg 3 of the standards outlines their process and criteria for development. Highlighting a review and report from an independent consultant

Most exciting is the Program Rubric for green school certification
*once at the site scroll down to the “program info” prompt (click it)
*once on that page scroll to bottom and click download rubric (in the middle of that same page one can download the learning resources schools work thru)

Spend some time investigating the site – it looks very promising. Perhaps it too can give us model to jumpstart our thoughts.

Tana Pulles December 7, 2012

Green Schools have been on my mind recently. J
Stumbled upon the NWF Eco-Schools USA program which appears to be similar to those titled Green schools. Our discussion posed the question, “do we reinvent the wheel or plug into an existing program?” – Everything is in place with this program and it is web interactive in terms of management. A environmental audit is worked into the seven step plan and it allows schools to choose their topical pathways in the sequence that best fits the school. Personally, I found it far less intimidating to consider, if I were a school facilitator. Presently 14 Missouri schools are enrolled in the program and their accomplishments can be seen by means of school report pages.

Similar to the green schools model, schools work toward a green flag award – however it offers various levels of certification (i.e. bronze, silver) so that success does not feel out of reach.
This could be a program , as we discussed, where we as a state offer support, resources and recognition to schools enrolled in the program.

Jan Weaver December 14, 2012

USA Today did an investigation of green schools claims in the Dec 11, 2012 issue. Basically they are not meeting claims of greater energy efficiency or improved student performance. Article is at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/10/green-schools-construction-leed/1753823/ Please read, and if so moved, comment on the report and its affect on our efforts in Missouri.

Matt Magoc (Riverlands Audubon - magocms@gmail.com) studied the national green schools framework in Florida as a graduate student. He may be able to provide important background information for our efforts.

Robert Dillon December 14, 2012

I found the article interesting as green construction doesn't equal a green culture in a school. The pillar of the green schools program that wasn't even mentioned in the article was the education piece. Students, staff, and community member need conversation, resources, and learning surrounding things like education for sustainability. This is the hard work to make the infrastructure changes impact achievement. Too many school initiatives have a solid rationale (WHY), a list of things to implement (WHAT), but the hard work is the (HOW) and changing hearts and minds and sticking with a vision and mission for a long period of time. It is disappointing that the education piece was missing in the article.

Finally, I believe that it may be helpful to find someone from the Missouri Farm Bureau to join our conversation. I think that they are an important voice that could reap benefits from students talking about sustainability, food production, water quality, and other essential agribusiness topics that flow through the Green Schools work.

Tana Pulles, December 14, 2012

The Environmental Ed piece must be the foundation from which all is built upon. If I may express an opinion, I believe we need to support/develop a program that works thru the Environmental Literacy Ladder: awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills and ultimately civic action. If the education piece is not there, it would be very difficult to expect schools to act upon the sustainability projects. This educational foundation would drive the desire to “green” the school.

The NWF Eco-Schools program has the educational piece built into the program and content is achieved thru the pathways. Also building on the Farm Bureau – The National Ag in the Classroom program is wonderful!! (I used it in Minnesota) The state of Missouri however does not have a state dedicated program, our farm bureau serves to link us to pieces of it. We can however – tap into other states programs as well.

Additionally – our state does have great Environmental Ed opportunities through MDC – Discover Nature Schools Series and their publications
PLT/Project WET/Project Wild/Flying Wild/Leopold are also great programs to tap into
Again the NWF – supporting Eco-Schools also has material

Below is our state contact with regard to Missouri’s Ag in the Classroom – which is channeled thru our farm bureau.Diane Olson, Director of Promotion & Education Programs / 701 South Country Club Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109, (573) 893-1414 or dolson@mofb.com. (DIANE HAS BEEN INVITED BUT HAS PREVIOUS COMMITMENT - LOOKS FORWARD TO JOINING IN FUTURE)

Thanks for listening – it is this classroom educational component that excites me!