Missouri Environmental Education News: October 2022Welcome to the lastest edition of MEEA's Newsletter
Table of Contents
- Feature Article
- Lesson Resources
- Save the Date: Annual Conference
- Vista Positions Available
- Featured Events, Grants, & Workshops
- JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
- Green Schools Corner
- Missouri Nature Phenomena This Month
- News from the Field
Dear MEEA Friends and Members,
I’ve had so much fun the last few weeks getting to meet ‘n greet in-person with people from all over the state – from convenings of the Association of Missouri Interpreters and Missouri Department of Conservation to visiting some Missouri Green Schools friends in Columbia and Springfield. There is so much happening with our friends and allies in environmental education, and it’s making me more excited than ever for the Kansas and Missouri Environmental Education Conference in Kansas City next month!
On Nov. 4-6, MEEA and KACEE are once again co-hosting our annual EE conference. We have phenomenal keynote speakers and skilled and knowledgeable presenters, but best of all we will be together in-person! If you haven’t already registered, we encourage you to do that right away. And remember, organizational members receive one complimentary conference registration with any level of membership.
We do have a few youth registration scholarships available – up to 10 available per state. They’re first-come, first-serve while funds are available. Take a look at this flyer to learn more about these youth scholarships and the sessions that would be most appealing to young people.
If you can’t make it, we haven’t forgotten about you – we will share out our keynote sessions virtually, for free. Stay tuned for more information on that!
Finally, we urge you to consider making a donation to our conference silent auction, to be held on Friday evening, 11/4. What could you donate that an environmental educator could use and enjoy? Classroom supplies? Materials for a cool outdoor experience? An actual experience? A book that you loved but probably won’t read again? If you have an item you’d like to donate, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can’t wait to see many of you in November!
Lesli Moylan, Executive Director
Feature Article: Tell Your Story with Graphs
I’m from Missouri, so, “Show Me”!
Most of us, let’s face it, are visual learners. Children are especially tuned in to concepts if they are shown, not just spoken to. We perk up when a science teacher creates a chemical reaction right before our eyes. (I don’t remember EVER perking up during my Physics lectures in college, which I’m sure is why I got a C.)
Tangible, sensory experiences (all of the senses, not just hearing) are the best strategies for revealing the meanings of phenomena in a way that “sticks.” After all, isn’t that what we strive for: information that creates long-term caring, understanding and eventually action on protecting the environment?
I’m a graph geek, I admit it! Graphs are my favorite visual learning devices. For example, if I just tell you that the earth’s average temperature has changed dramatically over the last 200 years, you might think, ok, so what? But if I SHOW the story that a graph tells, you will be able to not only understand that it has changed but you will notice that it has changed in a very obvious direction-UP. Check out this very current graph showing the global Land and Ocean average temperature change since 1880. It’s a timeline, and tells a very easy to understand story:
Have a discussion about climate change with a group of middle school students, and then show them the following graph; ask them, what do you see?
Graphs are useful to show good news, too. Look at the remarkable recovery of the American Bald Eagle (graphs can even be artistic). What a great story! Our national symbol (and my favorite bird, if I had to choose just one) has come back from the brink thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the ban of the chemical DDT:
More great news shown graphically: Look at the improvement in the air quality of St. Louis (decrease in poor air quality days) thanks to multiple environmental improvements and more public awareness. Thanks, environmental educators, and, nice job, St. Louis!
According to this OneSTL source, “Over the long term, air quality has improved in part due to mild summer weather as well as improvements in motor vehicle technology; cleaner burning gasoline; inspection/maintenance program; transportation projects to reduce congestion; ridesharing program and MetroLink; controls on industry and power plants; and individual behavior decisions.”
Well said, but it’s even more convincing by looking at the graph showing the decrease in poor air quality days in STL over time, don’t you think?
You “see” my point. Use visuals such as graphs to explain natural phenomena to your audiences. Another perk…teachers will love it because analyzing data and graphing are in the Missouri Learning Standards, and even science MAP tests!
FEATURE ARTICLE BY:
MEEA Assistant Director
(all graphs are presented with source links)
Released MAP Grade-Level Assessment, 8th Grade Science
Lesson Resources: Data Analysis and Graphing
FEATURED LESSON IDEAS SUBMITTED BY:
Jamin Bray, MEEA Assistant Director
If you haven’t yet discovered the MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) MO LEAP lesson blocks, you might consider diving in. These are new lessons across grade levels and the curriculum that are designed to help educators tackle specific MO Learning Standards.
According to DESE, the science lessons “engage students in phenomena and solving problems using high-quality tasks grounded in physical, life, and earth and space sciences as part of the Missouri Learning Standards.” I chose this particular 6-8 grade lesson because it has an environmental theme and features my favorite visual tool: GRAPHS!
(click link for full leasson) MO LEAP Graphing Lesson
Save the Date for the Annual MEEA Conference!
Optional Field Trips on Nov. 6, too!
We are encouraging Youth to attend and/or present at this event. For more information on this special Youth Engagement opportunity, contact Lesli Moylan: email@example.com
Vista Positions Available
Current Open VISTA Positions
Click the links below to find out more!
- Two School Support positions: Provide one-on-one support for under-resourced Missouri schools, assist with action planning, progress tracking, and outreach to expand the program. MGS School Support VISTA
- One Partner Network Coordinator position: Manage the development of a statewide network of organizations that desire to help schools lower their environmental impact, improve health, and shift to a culture of sustainability. MGS Partner Network Coordinator VISTA
MEEA Environmental Educator Mini-Grants (eight available annually); Proposal due date extended until October! Contact us ASAP!!
JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility
Analyzing the Acronym “JEDIA.”
This month we explore
“Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” energy.govt-environmental-justice
Check out the many resources on Environmental Justice provided by NAAEE:
Green Schools Corner
Becoming a “Green School” can mean so many different things…from the simple classroom tips we shared last month to enrolling in the Missouri Green School Program (meea.org/missouri-green-schools)
It can also include finding ways to bring gardening and fresh foods into your school environment. This MU Extension link gives ideas and instructions on getting started with a “Farm to School” intitative in your community.
According to their website, “Farm to School (FTS) is any activity connecting schools to local food and farms. The main goals of FTS are to serve fresh, high-quality, locally grown food in school cafeterias; to provide agriculture, health and nutrition education; and to support local and regional farmers.
Missouri Farm to School works with schools, farmers, vendors and communities to get more fresh, flavorful foods to local cafeterias. By increasing access to these foods, we not only help the littlest Missourians develop healthy, life-long eating habits, but we also support family farmers and our economy. What are you waiting for? Try a little local today!”
No matter what, the best tip we at MEEA always give is simply: get outside with your kids as much as possible, no matter what subject you teach! It will be good for them AND you!
Nature Phenomena This Month
News from the Field
CDC Life Expectancy Report
US life expectancy rose last year, but it remains below its pre-pandemic level
**for full article content: apnews.com/article/what-is-us-life-expectancy-2022
BY MIKE STOBBE, Updated 2:59 PM CST, November 29, 2023
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. life expectancy rose last year — by more than a year — but still isn’t close to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 rise was mainly due to the waning pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said Wednesday. But even with the large increase, U.S. life expectancy is only back to 77 years, 6 months — about what it was two decades ago.
Life expectancy is an estimate of the average number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live, assuming the death rates at that time hold constant. The snapshot statistic is considered one of the most important measures of the health of the U.S. population. The 2022 calculations released Wednesday are provisional, and could change a little as the math is finalized.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Recommendations to the MO Legislature for 2024
**for the complete list of recommendations: dese.mo.gov/media/pdf/state-board-education-2024-legislative-priorities
The State Board of Education (Missouri) submitted 2024 Legislative Priorities earlier this year, which include the following recommendations that Environmental Education can help accomplish.
Under Educator Recruitment and Retention:
"The State Board of Education supports the implementation of strategies aimed at providing immediate support for classroom management, improving the flexibility and professional growth opportunities within the teaching profession, and expanding training for local school leaders on cultivating a positive school climate and culture."
Under Safe and Healthy Schools:
"The State Board of Education supports ongoing efforts that reinforce positive student behavior thereby allowing educators to focus on providing instruction in a respectful, engaging classroom environment."
Under Success-Ready Students and Workforce Development:
"The State Board of Education supports continued funding of literacy initiatives aimed at supporting the Science of Reading."