Missouri Environmental Education News: August 2023

Welcome to the lastest edition of MEEA's Newsletter
Lesli Moylan Photo

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

Hello, everyone! Happy Green Schools Quest signup season!

What, you say?!  Don’t I mean Back-To-School season? Well, that’s what I would have said in the past. But now that the Green Schools Quest is part of the Show-Me Green Schools suite of programs, August is officially the Quest signup-season in my mind. The time is NOW to sign up to be a Green Mentor for a participating school. 

The Green Schools Quest is a student-driven, project-based contest where schools are paired with a community mentor and implement a low or no-cost sustainability project over the course of 6 months. Before I even knew about MEEA, I was a Green Schools Quest mentor. It is such a cool experience, and I highly recommend that anyone reading this consider signing up to be a Green Schools Quest mentor. (It’s a perk of MEEA membership that you are eligible for Quest mentorship!) You can read more about what mentorship entails and how to get involved in this month’s newsletter, but I wanted to share just a few nuggets with you that might not be included in the “official” materials.

  • Don’t consider yourself an expert in anything “green”? First, don’t sell yourself short. Second, you don’t have to be! You need to be able to help the school find information and resources, and help the school stay abreast of deadlines. 
  • Are you able to serve the school remotely? Most likely, yes. Perhaps you could do a zoom call, but are unable to leave work to mentor. Or perhaps you live in a different part of the state than your assigned school. As we seek to grow this program far beyond the St. Louis region (where it started and where it has the most traction), we may have to get creative when it comes to mentor / school partnerships!

Bottom line: Mentorship is rewarding, fun, very impactful…..and we need you! Sign up by Aug. 31, you’ll be glad you did! 

Lesli Moylan, MEEA Executive Director

Feature Article:

What YOU Can Do for Sustainability Now

Humans and our ancestors have been on this planet for millions of years, using natural resources, hunting, gathering and taking from Mother Earth what they needed to survive.  Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s, the combustion of a variety of fossil fuels has led to increasing levels of air pollution. New inventions are amazing, and have led to the growth and prosperity of our world, but have also contributed to more problems with not only air pollution, but waste storage, water conservation and energy preservation.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica (brittanica.com), “sustainability is understood as a form of intergenerational ethics in which the environmental and economic actions taken by present persons do not diminish the opportunities of future persons to enjoy similar levels of wealth, utility, or welfare.”

We need to prevent the depletion of our natural resources in order to maintain ecological balance. We need to keep our world tidy, clean and safe for future generations who will live here. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.”

EPA has a long history of working toward sustainable outcomes. To encourage progress, EPA developed a strategic approach to incorporate sustainability principles into its work

You can read these reports and find out what the U.S. and other countries are doing to support sustainability.  All this is good information, knowing large organizations are fighting for balance and preservation of the earth.  

I used to read these lengthy reports about conservation and sustainability and wonder… I am only one person in this huge world. How can I make a difference?  Well, guess what?  You CAN make a difference. Look at the following suggestions. Pick one or two of them to do immediately. Add another item to your list of “To Do’s” the next week, and the next.  Pretty soon you will have incorporated many healthy habits into your routine.  And then what?  Share your efforts with others. Ask them to help save our world, too.

  1. Turn off lights and fans when leaving a room.
  2. Conserve water- limit showers, turn off water when brushing teeth, use a bowl of soapy water to wash dishes and rinse everything at once instead of leaving water running the entire time.
  3. Use solar power when possible,
  4. Walk or ride bikes to stores.
  5. Reuse packaging when possible
  6. Bring your own shopping bag to the store- reduce use of plastic bags
  7. Start a compost pile- fruits and veg-no meat, dairy or fish.
  8. Carpool when you can; walk or ride bikes when possible- saves gas, reduces carbon footprint and is great exercise!
  9. Use refill soaps, shampoos, laundry detergents

Here are a few stores in Missouri that specialize in refilling those plastic bottles:

  • Kirkwood, MO:  The Refill Effect, 204 N. Clay Ave., Kirkwood, MO 63122
  • Columbia, MO:  The Clean Refill, 3601 Buttonwood Dr. Ste. C, Columbia, MO 65201
  • Kansas City, MO:  Soap Refill Station, 7441 Broadway Blvd.. Kansas City Mo 64114
  • Springfield, MO:  Soap Refill Station, 210 Campbell Ave., Springfield, MO65806
  • Parkville, MO:  The Greener Home, 115 Main St., Parkville, MO 64152
  • For more information on sustainability go to epa.gov

Thank you for your efforts to save our world!

 

Article submitted by:

Joan Ruppert, RN, MSN, EdD

MEEA Board Member and retired as faculty from University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing.

 

 

Lesson Resources submitted by:

Jamin Bray,  MEEA Assistant Director

Lesson Resources

Sustainable vs Regenerative Agriculture?

“While there are subtle but important differences between sustainable agriculture which seeks to maintain and cease degradation of land, and regenerative agriculture which seeks to restore land, promote soil health, and provide ecosystem services– the general principles are the same. Both focus on building resilience to climate change and bringing strength and vitality to the soil through soil health practices.”
Read more at: regenerative-vs-sustainable-agriculture

Lesson Focus: An Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture

Summary:
In this lesson, students will learn about regenerative agriculture and how it is similar to, and different from, organic agriculture. Students will explore what “regenerative” means, learn what practices are considered regenerative, and discuss the differences between regenerative and organic. This lesson is designed to be an introduction to the principles and practices of regenerative agriculture rather than a comprehensive summary. The goal is for students to become aware of some of the issues and discussion around regenerative agriculture and how it aligns with, and differs from, organic agriculture.

For complete lesson details: edibleschoolyard.org/resource/introduction-regenerative-agriculture

For a helpful and well-done video introduction: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSEtiixgRJI

 

Annual Conference & Upcoming Professional Development

Update on MEEA Annual Conference!

Each year in early November, formal and nonformal educators gather from around the state to network and learn about environmental education together. This year’s theme is Sharing Hope and Inspiring Action, and we invite you to share your story and expertise with others.

Submit your proposal HERE, or email us with questions.

(Note: Registration will open later in the summer, so stay tuned.)

Thanks in advance to our generous Conference Host:

Register Now

2 More Awesome PD Opportunities Coming Up at Sam A Baker and Thousand Hills State Parks!

Register here: secure.lglforms.com/Active Link

Our first workshop at Roaring River State Park in July was a hit!  Check out a few comments from our attendees about what they found effective about this workshop approach:

          • “The outdoor activity.  I think there are so many ways to go with that.”
          • “I loved the hands-on activities and the way it was adapted to meet all the hats we wear as educators.”
          • “…excellent job relating the workshop to formal/nonformal educators, 1st vs 6th vs High School educators; made it useful for all.  Loved doing the activities.”
          • “Key concepts are well-explained, the topics presented are local and personal, the lessons themselves are extremely adaptable.” 

Featured…

Events

Featured Event:

Webinar Series: Federal Funding for School Buildings (Parts III & IV) 

Dates and times Aug 2 & Aug 30, 2023  11:00 AM (CT)

Part III Registration

Part IV Registration

Grants

Featured Grant:

EPA Clean School Bus Grant Competition

Deadline to apply Tuesday, August 22, 2023

 clean-school-bus-program-grants

Workshops

Featured Workshop:

Invasive Species: On Trial!

MEEA Presents this unique summer PD workshop at 2 more MO State Parks!

MEEA Events Calendar

JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Making Getting Outside More Accessible

The River City Outdoors (RCO) Gear Lending Library is officially up and running! 

ST. LOUIS, MO — River City Outdoors (RCO), a nonprofit organization based in the City of St. Louis, has opened a new Gear Lending Library that makes outdoor equipment more accessible to residents and removes barriers for those living in the St. Louis region to get outside.

The Gear Lending Library is located at the Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop at 4662 Washington Boulevard in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis and offers free borrowing of outdoor equipment for hiking, camping, paddling, bikepacking, and more. Inventory and check-out services are available at rivercityoutdoors.myturn.com.

The Gear Lending Library is currently open to RCO network member organizations serving St. Louis youth and their families, and school groups. RCO staff provides free training to borrowers on how to properly use and care for the equipment prior to check-out. After a trial period, RCO hopes to expand the gear library to the public at large.

“One of the common barriers we see when it comes to getting kids and families outside is the availability and access to quality gear,” said Rebecca Weaver, Director of RCO. “We are committed to increasing equitable access to outdoor recreation in the region, and this resource will help make experiencing the outdoors more accessible to hundreds of people and partners.”

 

 

 

 

Kudos to our friends at River City Outdoors!  Watch the news coverage ROC received here:  FOX2 News 

Green Schools Corner

This Month’s Focus:  Green Schools Quest!

The Green Schools Quest (GSQ) is an annual project-based challenge (managed under the umbrella of Show Me Green Schools) to PreK-12 schools to devise and implement no/low cost sustainability projects at their school over a six month period of time with the help of a community volunteer who serves as a Green Mentor.  Schools document their impact, such as energy savings or increased biodiversity, during the project and submit their project’s process and impact for judging by an impartial panel at the conclusion. Cash Awards and trophies are presented to winning teams in Elementary, Middle and High School Divisions and five Spotlight Awards are presented across the age divisions. 

The beauty of GSQ is that it is totally place-based and student driven!  The students, along with their adult teachers and mentors, decide on projects they will create and implement at their school.  It’s really a beautiful approach, and there are SO many projects to review from past years! (see details here:  showmegreenschools.org/gsq

How would you like to be a mentor?  What a great way to advance the green schools idea in your community with kids you know-maybe eveny your own!

**So, sign up to be a mentor by Aug. 31!   Mentor information session dates, times, and registration links can all be found at:

Become-a-Mentor-in-the-Green-Schools-Quest

 

For more information and/or register for training:  mogreenbuildings.org/green-schools/green-schools-quest-information-sessions

 

Nature Phenomena This Month

Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation. Learn more at https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide

News from the Field

Let us know what YOU need: NEW DEADLINE: July 1st

Calling all School Teachers and Administrators!!

We REALLY need your help!

YOU definitely need to be included in Phase 2 of the Environmental Education "PEEPs Landscape Analysis" 

What does that mean?  It means, how can we show you WHO and WHERE environmental education is happening in our state, so you can access services, and we can fill the gaps for those of you that are underserved and need help with academic achievement, teacher retention, and engaging education approaches..

Plains Environmental Education Partnership (PEEPs): Advancing Environmental
Literacy through Data Driven Strategic Action

 

**To put it simply...Landscape=across our entire state!  Once this survey is complete, we and you as educators will be able to more easily find environmental education providers and support NEAR YOU.  We want to better understand your needs and challenges when it comes to providing environmental education and outdoor learning!

Purpose: To build capacity for environmental education in the Plains Environmental Education Partnership (PEEPs)
states through the assessment, analysis, publication of results and action planning using landscape analysis data of
both environmental education (EE) providers and implementation and barriers in formal PreK-12 schools and districts.

We're embarking on a journey to understand the various ways in which schools are engaging students in learning from and about the environment, from preschool through high school.

Through your participation, we aim to gain insights into the landscape of environmental and outdoor learning opportunities in our region, whether it’s indoors or out, from science to language and fine arts. We want to discover what programs and activities are available, where there may be gaps in access, and how schools can work with organizations to enhance environmental and outdoor learning for all students.

By participating in this survey, you are agreeing to have your information listed as part of a state and regional landscape of environmental and outdoor learning in schools across the Plains and Rocky Mountain Region. Only high level details will be shared.

Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes  (Note:  This survey is formatted with skip logic, so you will only answer questions relevant to you.)

This survey is focused only on PreK-12 Schools. If your organization is not a school, but provides environmental and outdoor learning programs, please stay tuned for other opportunities to contribute to this effort.

**TAKE THE SURVEY: PreK-12 EE providers survey for PEEPs

email us with questions, comments and feedback.