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New! Missouri Green Schools Program

Earth Quest: A game of Environmental Literacy

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2017 Missouri Green Schools and Environmental Education Conference - Session Descriptions

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Interactive Sessions | Table Talks | Conference Page


Interactive Sessions (alphabetical by first presenter's last name)

STEM Activities for a Sustainable Planet

Dr. Clare Bell, Associate Professor of Education, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Abstract: Experience hands-on activities of real-world human ecology concepts (population growth, natural resource use and biodiversity) while building foundational math skills. Receive electronic lesson plans matched to state standards.
Strand: Standards
Audience: Elementary School Teachers and Non-formal Educators
MO Env Lit Standards: 1. a-g; 4. b-e; 5. a-i; 7.a
Subject Standards: Science, Math  
Description: Effective STEM-based lessons for elementary grades can start with natural math/science integration to discover more about the world around us. This integration is critical in developing problem-based learning around real-world issues. Human ecology offers a wonderful opportunity to teach key life science concepts, such as carrying capacity in nature, natural resource use, and how humans are forever changing Earth’s landscape, habitats and biodiversity. At the same time, understanding human ecology concepts requires knowledge and practice in mathematical functions such a computation, measurement, graphical representation, statistical analysis and more.  In this hands-on workshop, participants will participate in innovative activities that illustrate the science and math behind real-world issues. Presented strategies will include creating representational models with manipulatives, cooperative group problem-solving challenges, graphing and analysis, and role-playing simulations. Participants will receive electronic curricula that links each presented activity with state standards.


Nature Play Made Simple
Felicia Brazier and Emma Donnelly, St. Louis Zoo
Abstract: Saint Louis Zoo educators will share nature play experiences and hands-on activities that we use in our preschool and family programs that bring nature into all content areas. 
Strand: Standards
Audience: infant through 3rd grade educators, informal educators
MO Env Lit Standards: 7.3: Seeking Knowledge and Experiences; 1.5: Collaboration; 7.4: Self-Efficacy 
Subject Standards: Literacy - Speaking, Math - Geometry & Measurement, Science - Unity & Diversity of Life, Interdependence, Science Process Skills.
Description: Bring the outdoors into your classroom! Come and learn different strategies for promoting nature play with young children. We will discuss the benefits of nature play and how to utilize different spaces to connect children with the natural world, while addressing Missouri Learning Standards. In this session, we will share with you our experiences and successes, as well as provide an opportunity for participants to experience a nature activity firsthand.


GREEN STEM - Learn to Stem-itize Your Green Curriculum
Joan Braun,   Elizabeth Petersen
Abstract: Participants will learn some quick and easy ways to incorporate STEM into their Green Curriculum with the NGSS Standards. This will be STEM-tastic!
Strand: Standards
Audience: K-8 Teachers and Non-formal Educators
MO Env Lit Standards: 
Subject Standards: 3-5 ESSE3-1,MS ESSE3-3 ESSE3-3, and Nature of Science with Careers
Description: Participants will learn to incorporate STEM into their curriculum through 3 methods: 1. Extend the curriculum into STEM through connecting to student interests, careers, cultural connections, and content; 2. Integrate two content areas - like science & math or science and engineering; and 3. Problem Solving - Participants will identify local environmental problems at their school to address.


CANCELLED:A Middle School Goes Green: Commitment to the 3 Pillars
Michael Dittrich, Principal Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School
Abstract: MRH Middle School is a National Green Ribbon School.  Come hear what they are doing in the three pillars to provide their students with unique learning experiences.
Strand: Green Schools
Audience: Prek-12 Teachers and Administrators
MO Env Lit Standards: Environmentally Responsible Behavior
Subject Standards: Science, Social Studies, Math, Communication Arts
Description: MRH Middle School was nominated by the Missouri Green Schools program which recognized the school as a “Missouri Green School.” MRH was noted for its leading initiatives in developing innovative programming and learning surrounding the unique sustainability needs in an urban area. The school provides a rich curriculum that integrates gardens, aquaponics, urban chickens, beehives, composting, and a rain garden. At the core of their work is a belief that sustainable schools and communities provide all members the greatest opportunities for success.  At the core for this work is a belief that sustainable schools and communities provide all members the greatest opportunities for success. The staff at MRHMS have deeply integrated their teaching and learning into this belief. MRHMS has deeply embedded teaching sustainability and green practices into the curriculum in core content areas and exploratory classes.

Life Cycle Thinking - A Holistic Approach to Assessing Environmental Impacts
Brendan Hellebusch, Embody Consulting, former Sustain Mizzou Ambassador and MEEA board member
Abstract: Learn the basics and importance of Life Cycle Analysis and get the tools to learn how to teach others. With this framework, you can measure the environmental impacts in any product from manufacturing to end of use.  


Seed to Stem
Lucy Herleth, Gateway Greening, Meg Holmes, Gateway Greening
Abstract: Join Gateway Greening educators to learn about Seed to STEM, an experiential, interdisciplinary elementary school curriculum. Lessons focus on classroom connections and meeting Next Generation Science Standards.
Strand: Green Schools
Audience: Elementary teachers with access to some green space, Kindergarten to 5th Grade, but can be scaled up to middle school.
MO Env Lit Standards: Systems, Living Organisms, Agricultural Environments, Seeking Knowledge and Experiences
Subject Standards: Living Organisms, Ecology, Earth Systems
Description: Want to take your science lessons to the school garden but unsure where to start? Seed to STEM is the new Gateway Greening, elementary school curriculum. It connects garden exploration to classroom goals and Next Generation Science Standards. Seed to STEM incorporates hands-on lessons and an interdisciplinary approach to engage all learners in the garden. The curriculum is uniquely designed for the Missouri garden, but many lessons can be used in any schoolyard space. Participants will learn how Seed to STEM and school gardens develop scientific inquiry skills, inspire student connections to the environment, and encourage healthy food choices and access for all.  Teachers will also get a chance to experience several Seed to STEM lessons, including a soil investigation. Participants will get their hands a little dirty as they compare soil structure of compost, garden, and schoolyard soils (2nd and 4th Grade Lessons)


Environmental Opportunity Gaps: Green Ribbon Pursuit
Dr. Troy Hogg, Principal at W.W. Keysor Elementary  Mrs. Traci Jansen, Sustainability Coordinator and First Grade Teacher at W.W. Keysor Elementary 
Abstract: Keysor Elementary administration and educators will share tools created to develop awareness and knowledge for your school's team, to design and implement positive environmental changes within your educational setting.
Strand: Green Schools
Audience: Educators (both public and private settings), Administration, Environmental Education instructors and leadership
MO Env Lit Standards - 1) Environmental Principles – Dependence, Limits, Commons, Collaboration, Sustainability, 2) Systems and Processes of Nature
Subject Standards - K.PS1.A.1, K.PS3.A.1, K.ESS1.B.1, K.LS1.C.1, K.ESS2.D.1, K.ESS2.E.1, K.ESS3.A.1, K.ESS3.B.1, 1.PS4.A.1, 1.LS1.A.1, 2.LS2.A.2, 2.LS2.A.1, 2.ETS1.A.1, 3.LS1.A.1, 3.LS1.B.1, 3.LS3.B.1, 3.LS3.C.1, 3.LS3.D.1, 3.ESS2.D.2, 4.LS1.A.1, 5.LS1.C.1, 5.LS1.C.1
Description: Interactive presentation to share experiences acquired to become a Missouri Green Ribbon School and applicant for the 2017 U.S. Dept. of Education Green Ribbon. Participants will learn about the processes of evaluation utilized in development of the application, and reflection of current practices underway at W.W. Keysor Elementary within Kirkwood School District, a public education setting located in the suburbs of the St. Louis County area. Tools received will include a reflective self-assessment, curriculum alignment for environmental education and guide to develop integration of outdoor learning spaces of your local educational campus for positive student success. Participants will additionally be able to share their educational insights in environmental design of their campus, to identify aspects of change and future enhancements as based upon NGSS Standards of instruction, Kindergarten – 12th Grade.


Discover Nature Schools: NGSS Crosswalks
Wendy Parrett, Missouri Department of Conservation
Abstract: Learn how you can meet the new Missouri Learning Standards and Next Generation Science Standards using Discover Nature Schools free teacher guide and student materials.
Strand: Standards
Audience: Classroom teachers grades K-5
MO Env Lit Standards: Spheres, Cycles and Flows, Living Organisms, Communities and Ecosystems
Subject Standards: K.PS1.A.1, K.PS3.A.1, K.PS3.B.1,K.LS1.C.1 K.ESS1.B.1, K.ESS2.D.1, K.ESS2.E.1, K.ESS3.A.1; 1.PS3.A.1, 1.LS1.A.1, 1.LS3.A.1, 1.ESS1.A.1, 1.ESS2.D.1; 2.PS1.A.1, 2.LS2.A.1, 2.LS2.A.2, 2.ESS2.A.1
Description: We'll go through alignment standards with MDC's Discover Natures Schools K-2 grade Nature Unfolds and 3-5 grade Nature Unleashed curriculum. There will be hands-on peer teaching of activities that align with NGSS goals. 


Beyond Nature Journals
Crystal Parson, Missouri Master Naturalist & First Grade Teacher, Cindy McManis Missouri Master Naturalist and Middle School Art Teacher
Abstract: Create interactive nature journals using recycled and natural materials, combined with flipbooks, foldables and pockets to use for observation and journaling.
Strand: Green Schools, Standards
Audience: Anyone who uses or wants to begin using nature jornals to enhance your program
MO Env Lit Standards: 2.4 Communities and Ecosystems – how matter, energy and living organisms interact with each other at local, regional and global scales, enables us to make predictions about their behavior at these scales and informs our understanding of how human activity
Subject Standards: Writing Strand 1: Apply a writing process to develop text for audience and purpose; Strand 3 : Gather, analyze, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources.
Description: Join two experienced classroom teachers and Master Naturalists as they share many ways to make and use interactive journals in classrooms, workshops and field studies. We will begin by sharing how to make journals out of a variety of materials that are inexpensive, easy and creatively personal. Then we will show you how we have combined elements of lap books, foldables and journaling to make them fun, educational and interactive for students of all ages.  Participants will leave with their own journals and lots of ideas and resources.


Teachers in the Hot Seat: Climate Change in the Classroom
Dr. Teresa Randall, Community Outreach Manager, KC Zoo and Megan Sevedge, MEd, ZooED Supervisor, KC Zoo
Abstract: Teaching about climate change can be tricky. Join us as we share advice from experts, helpful resources and activities, and some strategies that work for us.
Strand: Sustainability
Audience: Any Educator
MO Env Lit Standards: Environmental Problems, Recognizing, Investigating and Solving Environmental Problems, and Environmentally Responsible Behavior
Subject Standards: ESS2.D, ESS3.D, ESS3.C - Weather, Climate and Climate Change
Description: Floods. Droughts. Heat waves. Hurricanes. Climate change isn’t just a threat to polar bears. It has a profound impact on people—with effects that will intensify unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But climate change a complex issue and can be a sensitive subject to tackle with students. How can we help kids understand what’s happening to the earth without creating a sense of hopelessness? What can young people do to combat global warming? Why even talk about climate change with kids at all? We’ll explore these questions and more, help make connections between abstract science concepts and real life effects, and discuss ways to scaffold the climate conversation for students of any level.


Pint-Sized Scientists
Laura Seger - Manager of Learning Experiences,  Kelsey Navin - Early Childhood Supervisor, and Becca Harrison - Early Childhood Educator - Saint Louis Zoo
Abstract: In this session, we will talk about connecting young children with local habitats through citizen science projects and discuss how they support Missouri’s Learning Standards.
Strand: Standards
Audience: Preschool through 3rd grade Educators
MO Env Lit Standards: 1.5 Collaboration, 2.4 Communities and Ecosystems, 7.3 Seeking Knowledge and Experiences
Subject Standards: Science 4.1: Interdependence; Science 5.2: Earth’s systems and processes; Science 7.1  Science process skills, scientific knowledge, scientific investigation, reasoning, and critical thinking; Mathematics: Geometry and Measurement; Data and Statistics; Literacy: Gather, analyze, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources.
Description: Children all over the world can collect, interpret, and submit scientific data to help real scientists solve big problems and answer important questions! Come learn about different citizen science opportunities and how to get your classroom involved. During this session, we will work collaboratively to practice collecting data and discuss the benefits of these experiences in the early childhood classroom, while making connections to Missouri Learning Standards.


Hiking Through History: Natural and Cultural History Along the Ozark Trail
Dave Tobey, National Park Service; Reta Barkley, National Park Service Volunteer
Abstract: Learn how to engage your students in this EE program designed to help students learn about our natural and cultural history along a trail and collect data to be used in the classroom. 
Strand: Standards
Audience: Upper Elementary Teachers
MO Env Lit Standards: Environmentally Responsible Behavior, Taking Responsibility, Perception of Problems and Issues, Seeking Knowledge and Experiences, Self Efficacy, Taking Action
Subject Standards: 4th Grade - Investigation of natural processes, Evidence of changes in landscape over time, Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.  5th Grade - Model of stored energy from sun, Model movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment, Ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
Description: Attendees will learn about an education program that is designed to provide an opportunity for students to learn about our natural and cultural history using a variety of hands-on, inquiry-based activities.  This includes the collection of data by performing water quality, soil and weather testing, and vegetation and animal identification.  Presenters will use a PowerPoint presentation to cover the key elements of the program.  Following the PowerPoint presentation attendees will have the opportunity to rotate through stations and conduct simple data collection experiments for 10-15 minutes.  Post-field trip activities will be suggested in the conclusion. 


Up Your Game: Missouri's Environmental Educator Certification Program
Jan Weaver, MEEA; Elizabeth Petersen, PARC; Geoffrey Stillwell, Master Naturalist
Abstract: MEEA's EE Certification Program prepares formal and non-formal educators to use best practices to inspire students to care about, understand and act for their environment.
Strand: Green Schools
Audience: Formal and Non-Formal educators who teach environmental subjects and issues
MO Env Lit Standards: Perception of Problems and Issues, Seeking Knowledge and Experiences, Self Efficacy, Taking Action Subject Standards: Certification requires knowledge of Life and Physical Sciences, Government, History, Geography, Economics, and communication skills.
Description: The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has outlined the key skills, knowledge and dispositions needed to teach about environmental topics and issues. These include knowledge of relevant subjects, of the field of environmental education, professional standards, instructional strategies, knowledge of learners and assessment. This session will provide an overview of MEEA's Environmental Educator Certification Program, which is aligned to NAAEE's standards, share the experience of folks going through the program and an opportunity to do some of the activities required by the program.


Table Talks and Posters (alphabetical by first presenter's last name)


Props for Props
Debby Barker, CIG, Friends of Lakeside Nature Center
Abstract: Ever wanted to Jazz up your programs? Ever thought about incorporating props -- skins, skulls, puppets, costumes -- into your presentations? Want practical advice?
Strand: Green Schools
Audience: Teachers, Informal Educators
MO Env Lit Standards: None provided
Standards: None provided



Green Thumb Project (Poster)
Rebecca Elder, Truman State University
Abstract: Learn how students at Truman State use community partnerships to cultivate gardens, educational programs and volunteer opportunities
Strand: Green Schools, Sustainability
Audience: Teachers and Administrators
MO Env Standards: None provided
Standards: None provided



The Journey of Stormwater, KC to the Sea
Lara Isch and Kate Delehunt, KC Water
Abstract: Water quality in Kansas City is everyone's business. Come learn how KC Water's award winning curriculum can help you teach standards and inspire stewardship.
Strand: Standards, Sustainability
Audience: Formal and Non-formal Educators
MO Env Lit Standards: 1a-h, 2b&d, 4d&e, 5a,b,f,h,i, 7a,c,d,e
Standards: various math, science, literacy, for 4th through 6th grades (standards sheet will be available at table talk)




Socio-Scientific Issues for Environmental Literacy
Andrew Kinslow, Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE)
Abstract: Andrew Kinslow will share an issue-based approach and specific modules for teaching sustainability and environmental literacy associated with the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems.
Strand: Sustainability
Audience: The SSI modules I will present are specifically geared for high school age audiences, but can be scaled up or down as needed.
MO Env Lit Standards: 2 - Systems and Processes of Nature; 3 - Systems and Processes of Human Societies
Standards: Water, Sustainability, Vernier Probes, Issues, Society, Ecology
Description: The complex environmental challenges humanity faces require citizens who are scientifically and environmentally literate.  Many environmental education programs are situated in the field where students are immersed in their learning. These field-based activities are engaging but may lack opportunities for students to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills necessary to be environmentally literate. We suggest a socio-scientific issue (SSI) based teaching approach can increase epistemic engagement and lead to student gains in scientific and environmental literacy.  This interactive table talk will illustrate how we have integrated issues-based education approaches within the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE), framing the learning around local environmental socio-scientific issues.   We will present elements of several SSI education modules that can be used with formal and informal environmental education settings.  We will specifically demonstrate how we used Vernier probeware purchased through a MEEA grant within the GLADE academy for student inquiry activities to promote water and soil sustainability issues and environmental literacy. 


SPROut Kids Nature Programs
Beth Kroes, LEAF Out Family Nature Group
Abstract: SPROut Kids Nature Programs get parents and their kids into nature through monthly fun and interactive activities.
Strand: Sustainability - School/community/agency/industry sustainability programs and partnerships
Audience: Youth group volunteers, teachers, librarians, general public
MO Env Lit Standards: Environmentally Responsible Behavior
Standards: Seeking knowledge and experiences


Healthy Schools
Gary Lindahl, EPA
Abstract: Discuss and hand out materials to inform participants of the steps to take for a Healthy School Environment.
Strand: Green Schools, Sustainabililty
Audience: schools, home owners
MO Env Lit Standards: None provided
Subject Standards: None provided



Greening the Iron Chef Model and Feeding the Hungry
Sean McLaughlin, St. Louis University High
Abstract: SLUH uses the Iron Chef model to learn about local, sustainable food and to support companies that cook quality food from scratch, uniting producers and the public while supporting  a local food pantry.
Strand: Sustainabililty
Audience: Faculty, School Administrators, Students, Food Service Directors
MO Env Lit Standards: None provided
Subject Standards: None provided



Food Waste
Shari L. Wilson--Project Central
Abstract: Through collecting food waste in school cafeterias, less of it goes to landfills.  Come and learn about how food composting is working in KC-area schools.
Strand: Sustainability/Green Schools
Audience: PreK-high school teachers, administrators
MO Env Lit Standards: 1.3, Environmental Principles/Systems Thinking; 2.4, Systems and Processes of Nature/Communities and Ecosystems; 5.1, Environmental Problems/Waste; 7.1, Environmentally Responsible Behavior/Taking Responsibility
Subject Standards:Ecology, Biology, Social Science, Art


Missouri Environmental Educator Certification
Elizabeth Petersen
Abstract: Learn how to become EE Certified in Missouri through a leveled, mostly online, self-paced, reasonably priced program.
Strand: Standards
Audience: Formal and Non-Formal Educators
MO Env Lit Standards: All the standards are covered in certification
Standards: Primary focus is on LS standards related to ecology, ESS related to resources and climate change, plus social science standards related to economics, government, and geograpy


Composting Food Waste-30,000 lbs a Day
Stan Slaughter Missouri Organic Recycling, Christina Eglich Missouri Organic Recycling
Abstract: Using a large flow chart and a short video we will illustrate the process of large scale food waste composting. More that 40 Metro schools send food waste to Missouri Organic.
Strand: Green Schools, Sustainability
Audience: Teachers, Students, the Public
MO Env Lit Standards: 1-1,2,3,4,5. 1-3,4. 3-2,3,4. 4-2,5. 5-1,2,3,5,8,9. 6-1,3,4,5. 7-1,2,3,4
Standards: Environmental Responsibility



EPA Lessons
Lisa Thresher and Penny Harrell, US EPA
Abstract: Learn about EPA's air, climate change, ecosystem, energy, health, waste, and water lesson plans for teachers at all levels!
Strand: Green Schools, Sustainability
Audience: Teachers, Students, the Public
MO Env Lit Standards: None provided
Standards: None provided