Missouri Environmental Education News: April 2023Welcome to the lastest edition of MEEA's Newsletter
Table of Contents
- Feature Article
- Lesson Resources
- Annual Conference & Professional Development
- Featured Events, Grants, & Workshops
- JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
- Green Schools Corner
- Missouri Nature Phenomena This Month
- News from the Field
Dear Friends of MEEA,
Jamin’s article (below) about Earth Day and this year’s theme, “Invest in Our Planet”, really got me thinking. As Jamin mentions, advocacy is such an important part of one’s investment of time for the Earth. I’m excited to share that, as a new Affiliate of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (part of our strategic plan!), MEEA is taking steps into this realm. MEEA became an Affiliate of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) in 2023, and we attended their annual summit over the winter. There, we learned some history about CFM and how their Resolution process works. CFM has been part of some of the most effective state and national efforts to protect our natural resources, and its member-driven resolution process guides its day-to-day advocacy efforts. This week, Jamin and I are representing MEEA as a CFM Affiliate at the Conservation Day at the Capitol event. We have appointments with five legislators to discuss Conservation Education and Environmental Education, and why they are essential to the long-term health of our state.
As you reflect on how you might Invest in Our Planet, I urge you to consider MEEA in your calculus. An investment in MEEA is an investment in Planet Earth, and you can support this organization in many ways. MEEA is at a crucial time in its growth. Three years ago, we received a large grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health that allowed us to scale up significantly and provided support for two staff people and a team of AmeriCorps VISTAs. Over the last 3 years, while maintaining essential services like this newsletter, our website, and our annual conference, we expanded our green schools support tremendously, broadened our collaborative network statewide and nationally, and laid the groundwork for exponential growth in our professional development offerings over the next two years. In September of this year, the grant funding that has been our major source of funding for three years will come to a close. We are always seeking funding through a variety of avenues, but I also think we can get creative in how we “fund” some of our efforts. So, how might you “invest” in MEEA? I’ve listed a few ideas below, but I know that there are so many other creative ideas you might have to support MEEA and the growth of environmental education in Missouri — send them my way, if so!
- Help others learn about MEEA. Print some MEEA brochures and take them to your local library to see if they’d display them. Print our annual conference flyer and post it on a community bulletin board where you live. Many ways you can share MEEA in your community!
- We are in need of committee members to help us plan the conference. It’s not a heavy lift for any one person. Although we generally meet 1-2X/month, you don’t need to attend all the meetings. There are lots of tasks that need doing to pull off this event, and once we’ve made some initial decisions, much of the work can be independent.
- Volunteer to be a Green Schools Quest mentor. MEEA Members are now eligible to be mentors in this highly successful program, and you can help us expand its reach beyond the St. Louis region to the whole state. Plus, as someone who’s been a mentor several times, I can tell you it’s a great experience!
- Ask a local business that you frequent if they’d be willing to do a cash register “round-up” for MEEA sometime? Maybe for Earth Day?
- Volunteer to maintain a webpage each month. We need eyes on the website to keep it up to date, and some pages like the Grants page and the Events page need to get updated monthly or weekly.
SPECIAL SHOUT OUT: Thank you, Ryan Young, for adding Events to the MEEA Events Calendar each week! We are so grateful to you!
- The no-brainer for nonprofits: Donate! Any amount is appreciated, but to incentivize a “stretch” gift that would make a significant impact on our annual budget, we are inviting anyone who gives $250 or more to this year’s MEEA’s GiveSTL campaign to a Summer Solstice Campout in the Ozarks on June 24-25!
So many of you reading this newsletter have already invested a tremendous amount in MEEA, and I’m so grateful. MEEA is lucky to have so many thoughtful, smart humans helping shape its future. I’m confident that, together, we can continue our current trajectory to expand the “education we need for the world we want”.
Lesli Moylan, MEEA Executive Director
Invest in our planet (Earth Day 2023 Theme)
Happy Spring everyone…my favorite season in Missouri, for sure. Renewal, warmth, light, and change make me a happier person!
Spring also always reminds us of Earth Day, and the decades of accomplishment, advocacy, events, and community that April 22 has inspired since 1970. This year’s theme is particularly poignant (earthday.org/announces-theme-for-earth-day-2023-invest-in-our-planet), given the news just published this week By the United Nations about the status of our Climate Change efforts not just in our state, but in our country and our world. (see the News From the Field section below)
The news is sobering, and to me frustrating beyond appropriate words. How can it be that we are still wondering what to do and how to do it, when we have known about it for so long? How can politics and tribalisim keep us from protecting our health and our childrens’ future by protecting our home planet? Beyond me to understand.
But, not beyond me to commit to action! I have been thinking about what it means to “invest.” Usually that brings to mind funding, which is of course a crucial part of supporting any work on the environment (what we do is valuable and requires funding to sustain and grow!). Investment also means our time, expertise, dedication, focus, and passion put into action. Of the “7 ways” listed below, I am committing to one in particular: Participate in advocacy.
What investment will you commit to as this Earth Day approaches? Another JB challenge, I suppose! Email us with your Earth Day 2023 commitments, and I’ll post them on the website. firstname.lastname@example.org
(The following article and photo are from the always inspiring “Earth Day.org” website, posted by Madison Aughinbaugh, Feb ’23)–JB
How to Do Earth Day 2023
This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement, commemorated annually as Earth Day. Since 1970, billions of individuals from more than 190 countries worldwide have come together every April 22nd to take action towards a greener, more equitable future for our planet. As the countdown to Earth Day 2023 continues, it is important to remember regardless of where you are or what you do, you have the power to yield real change and be a champion for Earth. To protect our planet, we must invest in it.
Rallying behind this year’s theme, Invest in Our Planet, which highlights the importance of dedicating our time, resources, and energy to solving the climate crisis, here are 7 ways you can actively participate in Earth Day 2023:
- Plant trees or a pollinator garden.
- Reduce your plastic consumption.
- Participate in advocacy.
- Make sustainable fashion choices.
- Plan your own event.
- Activate on social media.
For the entire article with deetailed “investment” ideas, see: earthday.org/how-to-do-earth-day-2023
Article and lesson ideas submitted by:
Jamin Bray, MEEA Assistant Director
CORRECTION! from JB:
In the February issue of the newsletter, I wrote that Missouri River Relief hosted clean ups of the river in the Jefferson City area, implying that that was their only reach—Apologies to our buddies at River Relief! They do so much more!
According to Kristen Schulte, the Education Director at MRR:
“River Relief cleanups — The Missouri River Relief hosts clean ups on the lower section of the Missouri River from Omaha, NE to St. Louis, MO. riverrelief.org“
Climate Change (CC) is happening everywhere, including Missouri. It doesn’t always look the same everywhere, though.
To explore what CC looks like in our state, check out this enteresting data-packed site:
Heavy rain led to flooding around St. Louis in December 2015, including this area in Valley Park.
Credit: Cpl. Alex Flynn, Missouri Army National Guard.
Download the PDF from the EPA on projected impacts in Missouri: 19january2017snapshot.epa.gov
Earth Day Lessons and Resources:
Resources specifically for teaching about Climate Change:
From North American Association Environmental Education (NAAEE)
From World Wildlife Fund:
“Every year, at 8:30 pm on the last Saturday of March, millions of people around the world show their support for our planet by raising awareness about two of its biggest threats: nature loss and climate change. This is done through the simple action of turning off household lights for one hour.
Why Should We Care?
Nature provides us with everything we need to live, including food, raw materials, fresh water, and medicine. It is responsible for regulating air and water quality and climate. It helps protect us from erosion and disease. Nature also moderates extreme weather events such as hurricanes and blizzards. Unfortunately, nature is in danger.”
Annual Conference & Upcoming Professional Development
Thanks in advance to our generous Conference Host:
Interested in joining our conference planning committee?
contact us: email@example.com
This month! Registration Still Open!
Join us for an exciting
Professional Development Opportunity:
Experience techniques for presenting hands-on activities aligned to both MO Learning and Environmental Education Standards.
- Fee: $15 or Pay-What-You-Can
- Lunch and K-12 Guidelines for Excellence booklet provided.
- Dress for indoor and outdoor activities.
Presenters from MEEA, MO Department of Conservation, and James River Basin Partnership
Contact for information:
Lesli Moylan, MEEA Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for submissions DEADLINE: May 5!
NAAEE 2023 Conference: Together We Thrive
PROPOSAL DEADLINE APRIL 15!
Missouri Environmental Education Mini-Grants
JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility
MEEA has an updated
Thanks to the members of our MEEA JEDIA Committee for great work on creating a summary and visualizing the values of our organization.
We commit, that
“As an organization:
We know human and ecological health
are interconnected and interdependent
and we care deeply about both.”
Green Schools Corner
Need an idea for a Green Schools Project? Follow this young owl observer’s ideas:
“Backyard owls become the stars of a Columbia sixth grader’s pandemic project”
This inspiring story is from the Columbia Missourian, by
To read the entire article: columbiamissourian.com/news/k12_education/backyard-owls
Barred owls have always been a part of Columbia sixth grader Henry Glaude’s life. When Henry was a baby, his father built a box for owls with a camera inside and put it up in a tree in their yard. The family watched as, over the years, owls came and went.
But a project Henry developed during the pandemic with the help of his family and his fifth grade teacher gave the owls a wider audience and became something special for Henry to focus on during the challenging time of virtual learning.
Henry got some of his classmates to be field workers for his reports. “It helped us get outside where we filmed, and afterwards, we played together in the field and creeks by my house,” Henry said.
To check out Henry’s weekly “Owl Report,” go to:
The bird box used for Henry Glaude’s show, “The Weekly Owl Report,” sits at the top of a tree Dec. 22 outside of Henry’s house in Columbia. The bird box had to get a new camera installed after a squirrel chewed through the old one.
Nature Phenomena This Month
News from the Field
Increasing and Improving Environmental Journalism
Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk expands coverage of local environment and agriculture news with new grant
COLUMBIA, Mo. (July 31, 2023) — The Missouri School of Journalism today announced a $2.47 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation in support of the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, a network of journalists that provides coverage of agriculture, water and environmental issues centered around the Mississippi River Basin to news media nationwide free of charge. The grant extends the foundation’s support of the Desk for three more years and represents a more than $1 million increase over the Desk’s founding grant in 2021.
“At a time when local news deserts are a concern throughout the country, the Desk is an oasis of strong, local environmental coverage,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism. “We are thankful for the Walton Family Foundation’s expanded support, which speaks to the profound needs the Desk is addressing in the industry and in communities throughout the basin.”
With this support, the Desk will place a second cohort of 10 journalists in newsrooms throughout the basin for up to three years beginning next summer. As before, the journalists will be hired through a partnership with Report for America (RFA) and will receive training and mentorship from experts at the School of Journalism and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). Interested newsrooms can apply to Report for America by the deadline of Sept. 18.
In addition, reporters from the first cohort that started in 2022 have the option to remain for a third year, which is expected to result in a larger network of reporters next year. A list of newsrooms and reporters already in the program can be found at the Desk’s website.
“Over the last two years, this unique program has proven to be highly successful at increasing and improving environmental journalism in local news deserts,” said Meaghan Parker, executive director of SEJ. “Its comprehensive approach leverages the strengths of each partner to combine three key pillars: sustainable local newsroom capacity, regional collaboration and mentoring, and national networking and convening. SEJ is pleased to continue to be a part of this innovative and important effort to better inform local communities across the basin and leaders across the country.”
“Collaborations like this are helping newsrooms bring greater awareness of the issues that affect the daily lives of millions of people living within the Mississippi River Basin through a local lens,” said Kim Kleman, executive director of Report for America. “With this added funding, we’ll not only be able to expand coverage but provide our corps members with the mentoring and editing support they need to better serve their communities through their reporting.