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Missouri Environmental Education News
June 2016

Table of Contents: Feature: EE and the SDGs, Teaching and Learning: Teaching the SDGs, Things to Look Out for in June, Kudos, MEEA News, Grants, Contests and Awards, Conferences, Workshops, Jobs

EE and the SDGs: It's All About Teamwork

I've been overwhelmed by the environmental news lately, from projected mass extinction of species across the globe to tornadoes and continued flooding here in Missouri. But I also feel hopeful, and that's due in large part to being part of MEEA and learning every day about a broad team of passionate changemakers. I've also been thinking about how MEEA is nested in a much larger team, the North American Association for Environmental Education, which will be hosting a MEEA group at a Leadership Clinic this month. And my notion of being part of a big EE team jumped to a whole new level when I attended a workshop on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. When we frame EE work in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we see that we are a part of a really, really big team. That inspires hope.

The SDGs (aka “The Global Goals”) were adopted in 2015 by all United Nations Member Nations, with a goal of ending poverty and developing adequate responses to climate change by 2030. The SDGs are the logical next step after the expiration of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), which focused largely on eliminating extreme poverty in developing countries. The SDGs are 17 interconnected and extremely lofty goals that aim to address the root causes of the most pressing concerns for the whole world, from poverty and hunger to the resiliency of cities when facing stressors like violence or extreme weather. Some say that the SDGs are so big they are unrealistic, but the results of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) suggest otherwise. The MDGs’ aspirations had major positive impacts on global health, including moving 1 billion people out of extreme poverty and slashing HIV/AIDS by 40%. Just imagine if the SDGs are anywhere close to as successful as the will be transformational, and that is exactly what we need!

Going beyond the MDGs, the SDGs highlight the connection between equity issues and planetary health, showing us that it’s not an either/or proposition. By explicitly acknowledging the interconnectedness of all 17 goals, the SDGs provide a bridge for environmental educators to connect and collaborate with social activists and practitioners of community development. The SDG framework demonstrates that whether we are promoting outdoor education or advocating for adequate nutrition, or working to decrease violence or increase biodiversity, we are on the same team.

Unfortunately, the data suggests the SDGs aren’t nearly as well-known in developed countries as in developing ones, and least of all here in the United States. As environmental educators, we can help by embracing the language of The Global Goals and pointing out the many ways that schools and EE organizations are making progress toward them. From Farm to School programs (Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Sustainable Agriculture) to student-led fundraisers to help water-insecure communities across the globe (Goal 6: Clean Water and Adequate Sanitation for All), many schools are pursuing the SDGs, but often not explicitly. By making the connection explicit, we show others the many ways to be part of the global team.

Generation Z, many of whom are currently in college, may be the first cohort of humans that could legitimately be considered “global citizens”. They have an awareness of themselves as part of a global population, and they have lived their lives with access to the internet and loads of information from around the whole world. A recent worldwide poll of Gen Z’ers by the Varkay Foundation indicated that 2/3 of this very inclusive generation believes in the importance of engaged citizenship. One in five of those polled said they would be more engaged if they had the necessary skills, and one in four wanted to know how to get involved. ( “Teaching the SDGs” shows  students how to be good global citizens and presents opportunities for practical skill development AND meeting state standards.

Learn more about the SDGs:

Learn about each of the 17 goals, and the targets and measurable indicators within each of them at

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network provides  as well as a guide for American cities of all sizes to incorporate the SDGs into their sustainability plans

Help raise awareness about the SDGs:

Take the Global Survey. Share the link to the survey on your networks using #GlobalSurveySDG  

The SDG Communicator provides strategies for raising awareness and inspiring action.

You Can Help the MEEA Team, Join Us Now!

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Things to Look for (or Look Out for) in June!

(check out all the green holidays)

What to Look for Right Now - MDC's list of What's Out There in June!


Kudos to Missouri State parks for offering free camping for families displaced by the recent tornadoes. Call 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or visit for more information.

Kudos to the four Missouri schools nominated and awarded the prestigious honor of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School! Claymont Elementary School, Highcroft Ridge Elementary School, Herculaneium High School, and Raintree School--we applaud you. Thank you for your green leadership! Job well done!

Kudos to The University of Missouri Athletic program in Columbia for switching to strawless cups for its stadium events! The strawless revolution continues...

Kudos to the Rock Bridge High School Green Day student group for hosting their 1st annual Green Day environmental awareness and fundraising day! Community groups in attendance included MEEA and Missouri Stream Teams. Way to go, RBHS!

Kudos to the City of St. Louis for their hard work with Missourians for Monarchs, and the resulting gains in ecoliteracy in St. Louis. From 2014 to 2018 the # of survey respondents who knew that Monarchs need milkweed rose from 46% to 74%!

Kudos to new member Carrie Whipkey for volunteering to assist with MEEA's bookkeeping! We appreciate you!

Kudos to BiodiverseCitySTL for organizing St. Louis participation in iNaturalist's City Nature Challenge. St. Louis ranked in the top 15% globally in all categories of participation. Go, citizen science!

Kudos to for Bourbon High School, Lucy Wortham James Elementary, Owensville High School, Sullivan High School, Sullivan Elementary, and East Central College for collaboratively participating in the Interdependence Hexagon Project. They used art to raise awareness and cultivate civic discourse and engagement around the connection between agricultural practices in Missouri and water quality issues the Gulf of Mexico. See their project documentation here.

And several kudos this month to Bill Ruppert for: sharing copies of the MEEA Green Calendar with the Ashland City Library, encouraging Mizzou's Buck's Ice Cream to phase out styrofoam, and generously sharing his family's getaway cabin with MEEA for our Board Retreat. Thank you, Bill!


Coming Up in the Next Two Months

(These count for Environmental Educator Certification categories 1, 2 or 3. Visit the EE Certification page here)

EE Jobs details here

Teaching the SDGs (#TeachSDGS)

At The World’s Largest Lesson (WLL), educators from classroom teachers to parents can find materials to teach The Global Goals. At this site, you will find a multitude of downloadable lessons as well as posters, infographics, videos, etc. to connect SDGs to Missouri Learning Standards. Busy teachers will appreciate that each lesson clearly identifies specific SDG connections. No matter which of the 17 Global Goals most interests you or your students, you will find what you need. The Global Goals Food Project is a downloadable WLL Lesson about food, which ties to just about every Global Goal. See below for a description of this lesson and the Missouri Learning Standards to which it connects.

Through the Global Goals Food Project Lesson, students will:

Targeted age Group: Grades 4-8

Estimated Lesson Time: 70 minutes

SDG Addressed: Goal 12 Sustainable Production and Consumption

MLS Alignment: 4-5.R1.C, 4-5.R3.A, 4-5.R4.A, 4-5.SL1.A, 6-8.R1.A, 6-8.R1.B, 6-8R1.C, 6-8.R1.D, 6-8.SL1.A, 6-8.SL1.C

Lesson Framework:

  1. Introduce “food” as general theme of lesson; students draw their favorite meal.

  2. Introduce the SDGs.

  3. Present the idea that daily actions connect to the SDGs, and that eating is something everybody does every day so can have a big impact. The following two videos are great resources. (Make sure to preview any videos before sharing with your class.)

  4. Conduct food habit self-assessment. (Worksheet provided in WLL lesson plan.)

  5. Discuss reducing food waste in small groups.

  6. Provide opportunity for students to pledge specific actions to reduce food waste. Put your class activity on the World’s Largest Lesson online map, and share your effort on social media.

Other Food-Related Lessons from World's Largest Lesson
Subjects Covered Lesson Info SDGs Covered
Geography, Social Studies, Global Citizenship, Mathematics

Food Waste: Investigations in Numeracy lesson

Grades 4-8

2 Zero Hunger, 13 Climate Action, 14 Life Below Water
Geography, Citizenship, Social Studies, English, Literature

Food Tales: Investigating Climate Change through Literacy / English Language Arts

Grades 4-8

2 Zero Hunger, 8 Decent Work & Economic Growth, 12 Responsible Production & Consumption, 13 Climate Action
Geography, Citizenship, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics

Food Innovations: Investigations in Science

Grades 4-8

2 Zero Hunger, 3 Good Health & Well-being, 9 Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12 Responsible Production & Consumption, 13 Climate Action