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Missouri Environmental Education News
November 2019

Table of Contents: Article: Rural School Waste Reduction, Lesson: Food Waste Curriculum Resources, Things to Look Out for This Month, Kudos, MEEA News, Grants, Contests and Awards, Conferences, Workshops, Jobs

Dear MEEA Members,

The past month was apparently not only deer bow-hunting season, but also EE conference season! Quite a few MEEA members from all over Missouri attended the North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) conference in October, and just this past weekend, MEEA hosted its annual conference. They were both fantastic events, full of so much learning and relationship-building. Because of our amazing and generous sponsors, we were able to offer sliding scale registration at the MEEA conference this year. We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing professional development, and we were able to live out that value in such a concrete way! Look for next month's newsletter to include lots of highlights from the MEEA conference, with as many of the presentation slides as we can round up.

My personal highlight from the NAAEE conference was the opportunity to attend a session entitled “Climate Hope”. I had promised my 13-year old son that I’d come home with some positive stories about climate action, as he had sort of been spiraling downward under the weight of his emerging awareness about the issue. What I didn’t realize was just how much I needed some stories of hope as well. I’m guessing that, with yesterday’s not-unexpected yet still depressing news about the official withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, some of you might need some “climate hope” as well.

Adam Ratner, of The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) in San Francisco, generously agreed to let me share his slides from his NAAEE presentation as well as a video from an internal training for TMMC staff. The video wasn’t meant for public consumption and is missing the intro, but I thought if even one MEEA member sees it and benefits from the content it would be worth sharing! Finally, I wanted to share a couple of other really helpful climate resources. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to talk about climate change in an inviting way, check out the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). And if you want to know where Missouri (or even your county!) is in terms of climate opinions, you will likely be pleasantly surprised by what you find at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Jill Hollowell, MEEA member and Environmental Programs Specialist for the Meramec Regional Planning Commission, submitted this month’s article about Bourbon High School’s work to reduce food waste. Together, the food sector and the transportation sector contribute more than ⅓ of greenhouse gas emissions. Food rotting in landfills is a huge contributor of methane, so schools like Bourbon HS are directly participating in positive climate action by reducing food waste and reducing the miles that food travels from farm to fork. Students may not realize this, so let them know!

Lesli Moylan, Executive Director

Achievements in Rural School Recycling and Waste Reduction: Bourbon, Missouri

by Jill Hollowell
Environmental Programs Specialist, Meramec Regional Planning Commission

First established in 2014, the Crawford County R-1 W.O.R.M. Club (Working On Recycling Methods) engages students at Bourbon High School in nature-friendly activities to spread awareness of how to reduce waste, reuse materials and increase recycling in their school. After receiving a grant for $9,500 through Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District, which serves Crawford County, the club developed a vermicomposting project. Students composted lunchroom food waste in tumblers and then finished the process in vermicomposting towers (using special worms). This project gained recognition through the 2017-2018 Green Schools Quest, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter.

Recycling opportunities in rural schools can be limited, yet the W.O.R.M. Club has continued to grow. “W.O.R.M. Club is all about a group of students in our school who come up with new ways to improve recycling in our school environment,” says club member Rachel Orton. Students continue collecting lunchroom food waste from kitchen staff and students for composting to achieve waste reduction. Paper is also recycled, and the club rallied for installing a hydration station to reduce the use of plastic water bottles. “We will be doing an assembly here soon to inform all our classmates why recycling is so important,” says club member Courtney Evens.

“My first year I built a shelf, and then my second year I built another shelf. This year, I want to build a bookcase. Our main goal is to bring awareness of how much recycling means to our survival in our world. We are always up to more ideas on what to do,” says Rachel. Students are encouraged to repurpose materials discarded from local businesses and collected by club mentor, Kevin Koppelmann.

Photo credit: Kevin Koppelmann

“Some of our future plans are to start a school garden so maybe eventually our school lunches can be filled with fresh, organic, locally grown fruits and veggies,” added Rachel. Courtney explains, “We hope we can even expand our knowledge and efforts to our community and better the environment for everyone. W.O.R.M. club has ambitious students and staff who care for the environment, and we plan to use our best efforts to help save our Earth and atmosphere. We love our planet and want to preserve it the best we can!”

Funding for school waste reduction projects may be available through local solid waste districts, funded through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. To find your local district, please visit https://tinyurl.com/yywmtc9c

Food Waste Curriculum Resources


Food Too Good To Waste website. Developed by Missouri Organic Recycling and partners. https://foodtoogoodtowaste.com/ Lots of resources, plus a project-based challenge for student groups to help reduce food waste and win up to $500 for their school. https://foodtoogoodtowaste.com/challenge Music is a great way to help info stick in the human brain. Stan Slaughter, eco-troubador and mastermind behind the Food Too Good to Waste initiative wrote the song "Food too Good to Waste". If you have trouble opening the audio file, email Stan to send you the mp3 file directly!

Food Matters Action Kit. 2019. Montreal, Canada: Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
Food Waste Activities into two parts: Ages 5-13 and Ages 14-25. http://www3.cec.org/islandora/en/item/11817-food-matters-action-kit-inspiring-youth-across-north-america-prevent-food-waste-en.pdf

Life Lab Composting Resources. Life Lab is a great go-to for garden-related education, with everything from "back pocket" activities to in-depth curriculum. Check out their composting resources for pre-K on up at https://www.lifelab.org/composting/composting-curriculum/

High School Resource. Educators wanting a deeper dive into the biology, chemistry and physics of compost may be interested in Cornell's book Composting in the Classroom: Scientific Inquiry for High School Students. Available for free as a pdf at https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/3338/CompostingInTheClassroom.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y .

Finally, a tried-and-true easy and inexpensive indoor composting activity is to make compost in a 2-liter bottle. Instructions can be found here.

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

(check out all the green holidays)

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

Kudos

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry held a grand opening event last week for the first new MU research center site in more than 30 years. Thanks to this generous gift from Doug Allen, a friend and supporter of the Center for Agroforestry, the Land of the Osages Research Center is a place for growing partnership between the University and the Osage Nation, whose ancestral lands we inhabit. Kudos to all involved in this inspiring and hope-inducing project!

Photo credit: MU Center for Agroforestry

Kudos to Audubon Center at Riverlands for utilizing a MEEA mini-grant to teach Mammal Investigations during their summer camp program. The Mammal Investigations program trains teens from Ferguson Florissant School District to teach their younger peers all about mammals in our region and how to interpret the "clues" they leave that students can investigate and interpret!

Photo credit: Audubon Center at Riverlands

Kudos to The Sustainable Backyard project for the launch of their new new Seedbox program, and to Greenscape Gardens for hosting the first Seedbox prototype. Crucial to the Seedbox concept is the online registry that lists the GPS location of the physical Seedbox and its contents. Individuals who build a Seedbox and stock it with seeds will register their location on the website, ASeedBox.org so that when someone in need of seeds checks in, they will see who has what kind of seed to share in their area. The type of seed is not regulated, but native plants and annual vegetables are particularly encouraged. “As long as it’s food for someone,” says creator Susan Pang, a master gardener, master naturalist and a long-standing professional member of Grow Native. She has been collecting seed and growing mostly natives since 2010.

MEEA News

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