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MEEA Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

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2018 Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

1. Erin Nash - North Kansas City Schools-Northlanad Innovation Center - An Inquiry into Missouri Backyard Birds

"An Inquiry Into Backyard Birds" is a project-based lesson, which seeks to have students develop research skills through the design and development of research projects. Students take ownership of the projects through preparation of their own bird feeders in the classroom, maintaining a journal and gathering and submitting feeder data, and designing and conducting a research project.  Following a period of guided inquiry into local bird identification and field study experimental design, students will conduct an open inquiry  related to bird behavior.  Student findings will be communicated in a culminating birding festival, where students will create stations to teach others about the factors that affect bird populations, the results of their experiments, and ways to ensure the continued study of local/migrating bird populations.

2. Carey Scherder - Louisiana Elementary School -Helping Paws Get Recycling

Louisiana Elementary Helping Paws Get Recycling is a project that engages students, staff, and community in recycling efforts.  It helps to teach why recycling is important.  Promotes how to recycle in our small rural area, and what can be recycled.  It helps to recognize our local organization that is responsible for recycling. This is our opportunity to build habits in our students, staff, and community to be better stewards of our environment, and our community and environment will be better for it.

3. Michelle Wiegand - The Audubon Center at Riverlands - RiverVision Leadership Project: Mammal Investigations

The Audubon Center at Riverlands, located just north of Saint Louis, has been continually building on their RiverVision Leadership Project. Committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and initiated in 2010, this unique project has partnered with 12 under-resourced schools, exposing students to nature, outdoor education, leadership training, and career exposure. Annually, the education programs serve nearly 10,000 individuals, over 1,000 of them being from RiverVision. Audubon Center at Riverland's mission is to connect people to the beauty and significance of our Great Rivers confluence area, to inspire conservation of the river's rich diversity in birds, wildlife and other natural resources, and to support healthy, vibrant communities. By increasing the amount of programs offered, they are able to further increase student’s awareness of their environmental connections to the region.


2017 Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

(alphabetical by lead recipient's last name)

1. Beth Kroes - Macon Parents as Teachers - Hands On Nature Explorers

We will present basic environmental concepts through hands-on activities at monthly PAT Group Connection events held throughout the school year. Topics such as recycling, growing and preparing food, stewardship in nature, basic life and systems cycles, conserving resources, etc. will be presented with age appropriate materials, information, and hands-on activities.

2. Elicia Ligon - Phelps Center for Gifted Education - CityScape Field Trips

We will go on trips to the Greene County Landfill, Waste Water Treatment Plant, and Springfield Underground.

3. Mary McCarthy - Delaware Elementary School - Wildlife Hero

4. Brooke Widmar - Conservation Federation of Missouri - Legislative Tool Kits

Our plan is to create a toolkit to train representatives at four Missouri colleges who will educate their campus about conservation issues, and encourage students to get involved.

2016 Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

(alphabetical by lead recipient's last name)

1. Beth Kroes - Macon Parents as Teachers - SPROut Kids Nature Program

The LEAFOut Family Nature Group will connect with the local Parents as Teachers (PAT) program at the Macon school district, which includes families from surrounding contract schools that participate in Macon’s PAT program. Families in the PAT program receive routine home visits from Parent Educators, and it is through these visits that notice of the nature programs would be disseminated through flyers and word of mouth. Facebook pages, text messaging, local advertisement (i.e. flyers, newspapers, radio, etc.) would also be utilized to let families know about the events, provide reminders, and expand attendance.

2. Mary Silwance - Green Works Kansas City - Missouri River Rides

Students learn about water via instruction, water testing and field trips. During the river ride students see where drinking water is collected and that trash ends up in the river. This experience transforms what they've learned into behavioral change regarding litter, what they put down drains and onto lawns.

3. Tammy Trantham - Greater Ozarks Audubon Society - Bull Shoals Lake Ecology for GLADE Students

GLADE strives to give tools to our students to build leadership skills and gain knowledge of the Ozark ecosystems around them. Through the past eight years, we have seen students transform into young leaders. They have returned to their communities empowered to put together Community Action Projects to give back.

4. Melissa Urspruch - MAP St. Louis - Transportation Choices

Our students will gain an awareness of the effects of transportation choices on our environment. Our students will learn to take initiative, create a plan, and realize that they can work for change in our community.

2015 Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

(alphabetical by lead recipient's last name)

1. Ron Howerton, Noel Elementary School - Sustainable Gardening2

Our goal for the program is to teach students and parents how to produce sustainable crops on an annual basis; how to make wise use of our existing resources; and how to reduce water waste by the use of rain barrels. We want to put homegrown food on students' tables. We will utilize raised beds for planting using seeds saved from the previous year's crops. By adding 7 new rain barrels we will become closer to our goal of using 100% rain water in our gardens. We wish to make this a community garden by encouraging community members to assist us i our gardening.

2. Carey Sherder, Bowling Green Middle School - Eco Detectives Spread the Green Fever

Eco Detectives Spread the Green Fever is about getting students more engaged in the recycling project that we have here at school, and spreading this energy, "fever" to the rest of the students and staff by creating posters and providing an easy opportunity to separate out the recycling in classrooms. Students will be responsible for the distribution and collection of the bins, which will be purchased with this grant money. Students will also produce posters, with supplies purchased with grant money, to help educate the school about the importance of recycling.

3. Michael Nelson, Computer Village - Lewis Place Monarch Waystation

Originally funded by a grant from EarthForce The "Youth Champions for Sustainable Change" have continued to build on their success at the Lewis Place Outdoor Classroom and Learning Garden. This summer, by building a Monarch Waystation and registering their garden with the national effort to create a "Pollinator Corridor", Moanarch butterflies that migrate through Missouri will teach the youth about the impact of Climate Change on agriculture and species extinction.

4. Jennifer Grabner, Southern Boone Learning Garden - Gardening & Composting with Special Services Students at Southern Boone County High School

The Southern Boone Learning Garden will work closely with 3 high school special services teachers to integrate a classroom worm compost bin and outdoor garden beds & compost piles into lessons & activities throughout the 2015-16 school year. We're currently working on curriculum development for this project, including working with a Lincoln University professor in charge of their large vermiculture project. In addition to daily & weekly connections to several life skill objectives for these special needs students (daily chores, taking care of living things, working collaboratively in small groups, individual responsibility, etc.), the classroom worm bin will provide multiple opportunities for math & science connections as well. The Learning Garden will also facilitate several outdoor lessons related to composting & gardening.

5. Hannah Hemmelgarn, The Wild Wonder Project - The Wild Wonder Project Stewardship Semester

The Wild Wonder Project recognizes that play is essential for healthy development, and that time spent in the outdoors leads to a greater love for nature and long-term citizen engagement in protecting it. With our three half-day/week fall 2015 semester, we will enable a sense of place and a land ethic in young learners age 8-10yrs. These students will be prepared for continued civic engagement in their neighborhoods by practicing water quality monitoring, meteorology, phenology and climate science during the semester. By integrating monthly open community gatherings, students will also have an opportunity to share what they’ve learned with a broad audience who can support and join them as stewards of their environment.

6. Joan Twillman, Mississippi River Water Trail Assocation - Building the Mississippi River Water Trail

This grant will allow us to purchase additional needed safety equipment for our kayaks. This will help us to recruit and train volunteers to provide additional supervision for on-the-water events. More safety boaters mean that there will be additional opportunities for people to enjoy the majestic and lovely Mississippi River. Internalizing a deep love and/or appreciation for the river brings active stewardship.

2014 Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

(alphabetical by lead recipient's last name)

1. Meredith Donaldson, Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park - Nature Detective Supplies

Our content will include (1) living and non-living components of three different habitats – forest, cave and stream and (2) basic skills and equipment preschoolers and their parents can use in exploring these natural areas. Our goal is that parents will gain knowledge of how to safely explore nature and use a variety of methods in exploring nature with a a young child. - Parents will visit a natural area or park to explore nature with their preschool child at least 4 times in the next five months.

2. Jennifer Grabner - Southern Boone County Learning Garden - School-Day Lessons for the Learning Garden

The primary goal of our programming is to empower school-age children to grow their own food, and to make healthy and conscientious decisions about eating. We utilize student reflection and classwork in evaluating our effectiveness and their retention of information—journaling, creative writing, and worksheets. We survey teachers, parents, and volunteers for their assessments of our programming, and to understand how information presented in the Learning Garden is being transferred to classrooms and homes.

3. Ron Howerton, Noel Elementary School - Sustainable Gardening

Students will learn sustainability practices while planning, planting, and harvesting vegetables unique to their cultures. We will learn about soil types and how to compost, thereby reducing waste originally destined for the landfill. We will invite parents and local master gardeners in to teach the students successful gardening practices. Our goal for the program is to teach students and parents how to produce sustainable crops on an annual basis; how to make wise use of our existing resources; and how to reduce water waste by the use of rain barrels. We want to put homegrown food on students' tables.

4. Paul Oryem, City Raptors Project of Digital Arts Collective- Citizen Science Interactive Mapping Ap for Visualizing Urban Raptors

We believe individuals learn best when they authentically EXPERIENCE a topic. People will be empowered to become true change agents using mobile phones and web based technologies. The range of urban raptors crosses neighborhoods and communities, collectively individuals become active participants and stakeholders as they publicly collect, share, and visualize an urban wildlife community. A free open source data management system, Ushahidi, will collect crowd sourced data to visualize what happened, when and where . The audience will be invited to learn and participate in this citizen science program through social media and at events. A nature storytelling series will be conducted to educate the community about urban birds, present a forum for telling nature stories, demonstrate collected data and invite participation.

5. Alex Prentice, Missouri River Relief: Educational Banner for Missouri River Relief Clean-Up Events

This project will develop an interactive Missouri River watershed map/display. The display will contain multiple removable layers such as high definition aerial photos, watershed facts, ecology and history of the Missouri River. It will be utilized at education events and clean-ups to educate about the importance of the Missouri River. It can be difficult to understand the scale and connectivity of our environment. Utilizing watersheds is an effective method of explaining the connectivity and importance of personal actions in watersheds. This project would allow us to provide more information/context to our clean-ups and be a useful resource for education events.

6. Joan Twillman, Mississippi River Water Trail Association: Equipment and Supplies for a River Safety Course

The Mississippi River Water Trail Association introduces the public to safe activities and facilities on the river. Through outdoor skill development and river time, participants learn appreciation for this most majestic river in the US. Experienced Safety Boaters from the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club and an American Canoe Association certified kayak instructor(s) will introduce safe kayak use following the ACA guidelines. Instruction will take place in a sheltered area of Riverlands. Emphasis is on working within the comfort level of the student, who will be practicing skills immediately after the introduction. The emphasis will be on enjoyment as well as technical expertise and safety.


2013 Environmental Educator Grant Recipients

(alphabetical by lead recipient's last name)

1. Sheila Anglin-Jordan, Webster University: Sustainability Course

Using multidisciplinary guest speakers, field trips, iconic literature and current events,college students in Webster University's Intro to Sustainability Studies will have hands-on interactive education on a wide array of environmental topics - food an agriculture, climate change, pollution and toxics, endangered species, invasive species, population growth and energy. As part of the course students will complete a research paper and poster on a sustainability challenge.

2. Andrew Goodin, Grand Center Arts Academy: Designing a Smart GrowLab

Using a Makerspace student innovation challenge, students will develope a "Smart Gow Lab" that models school waterheds. Students will learn the fundamentals of sustainable sites, gardens, site design, water needs, computer programming and hardware interfacing. Students will document project progress publicly via the Markerspace blog and present on their Smart Garden at the GCAA MarkerFaire in Spring 2014.

3. Matthew Magoc, The Audubon Center at Riverlands: Building an Environmental Education Children's Library to Promote Literacy

The center will promote children's literacy by providing age-appropriate environmental education literature. The books will cover water quality, pollution and toxins, climate change and will be available to visitors at the center. The center will use written reflections from students in school groups and by monitoring a check-out/check-in log

4. Jessica Merricks, Blue Ridge Elementary School: Sustainable Practices at Blue Ridge - Composting in the Cafeteria

Students at Blue Ridge will implement a composting initiative in their school cafeteria in an effort to reduce cafeteria waste as well contribute to the production of rich humus for the gardening efforts on their school grounds.

5. Brad Riley, Fort Zumwalt North High School: Water Quality Testing

Students at Fort Zumalt will test for Nitrate, Nitrite, dissolved Oxygen, phosphorus and other qualities in local watersheds. They will use the information to map water quality and identify possible point and non-point sources of pollutants in the watershed.

6. Christine Schmidgall, Truman Elementary Outdoor Kids: Learning to Grow a Garden

The program at Outdoor Kids will teach regular and special needs students how to plant, grow, manage and harvest food and flowers from their newly established raised garden beds.