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Missouri Environmental Education News
January 2020

Table of Contents: Climate, Community, and Collaboration, Climate Education Resources, Things to Look Out for This Month, Kudos, MEEA News, Grants, Contests and Awards, Conferences, Workshops, Jobs

Dear MEEA Members,

Happy New Year! A sincere wish from me to you for a 2020 defined by fulfilling good work, abundant hope, and plenty of fun outdoors with the kids in your life!

A huge thank you to Sonoma, CA resident Maitreyi Siruguri who enthusiastically volunteered to help MEEA during her recent extended stay in Missouri. She jumped in to collaborate with the great folks at the City of Columbia's Office of Sustainability and wrote this month's article. I hope you enjoy her food for thought, and that you find the related resources in the Lessons section useful.

Lesli Moylan, Executive Director

Climate, Community, and Collaboration:
Creating Pathways for Transition and Transformation

by Maitreyi Siruguri

Maitreyi Siruguri with ECO2School (right) Photo credit: The Climate Center

If I needed to pick one winner as being critical to solving wicked problems like climate change, it would be collaboration. Be it resilience building efforts by community organizations, social impact decisions at B Corporations, city mayors managing natural disasters or educators developing standards of excellence for 21st century learning, no one entity can claim to hold the silver bullet, wave a magic wand or walk alone just to be the fastest, if they are in search of effective and sustainable solutions. The collaborative spirit is at the core of driving innovation and change towards a positive, vibrant, just and peaceful future.

Given what our civilization is grappling with today, my questions have led me to explore the intersection and alignment of areas that I believe are important pieces of the puzzle namely, environmental education, green career pathways, sustainable business and development. Participating in a variety of forums with people from across the world over the last few months has opened up many fascinating windows and raised many critical questions.

One such forum was the 48th annual NAAEE Conference (North American Association for Environmental Education) in Lexington, Kentucky in October 2019. As a first time attendee at this conference I went in feeling like a sponge, ready to soak in as much as I could from all the inspiring, thought-provoking and enlightening conversations and ideas converging from around the country and the world. At the end even sandbags wouldn’t have sufficed! But more importantly, such gatherings lend themselves to stirring the pot, so to speak, keeping us moving, connecting and growing.

To that end, one of the rewarding outcomes for me was an introduction to this network - Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA), following a presentation by Lesli Moylan from MEEA and Hope Gribble from the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Missouri-Gateway Chapter, about the Missouri Green Schools program. An interest to volunteer with MEEA, led to a conversation with Eric Hempel and Ben Kreitner in the Office of Sustainability at City of Columbia, MO, a department focussed on several aspects of climate action internally as well as in the community. Mr. Hempel, Energy Educator, is currently mentoring a senior student from Hickman High School, SoHyeon Yun, who is looking into the climate impacts of transportation at her school, towards which she has designed and administered a transportation survey at her school. I was delighted to have the opportunity to connect SoHyeon to resources from ECO2school, a youth leadership program at The Climate Center, a non-profit in Sonoma County (California), where I worked over the last decade.

Youth are rightfully questioning status quo, which is essential because the systems they grew up in and are living with today, were rarely designed to factor in sustainability and inclusivity. After all, as they say, “if you are going to do what you have always done you are going to get what you have always got”. ECO2school has been working with youth leaders across high schools in Sonoma County and the San Francisco Bay Area inspiring them to take action for immediate greenhouse gas reductions. Transportation has consistently been the largest source of emissions in this county; over 60% in 2015 (SCTA/RCPA 2018 Report). This program, led by Amy Jolly, has open-source material related to climate literacy, transportation and energy for high schools on the ECO2school curriculum & resource page. Youth-led events such as “Cocoa4Carpool”, “Walking Wednesdays”, “Bike Trains” and a two-week ECO2school Challenge, help students organize campaigns on their campuses to help reduce emissions from school commutes and promote active and shared transportation habits, that have both personal and social benefits.

I am inspired by the rich pool of educational and experiential resources found among collaborative networks like MEEA, and forums like the Missouri Environmental Literacy Advisory Board (MELAB, facilitated by MEEA) across the country that tirelessly advance the progress of environmental education in our communities. That said, there are still many silos to break through and much greater alignment to be brought about to fuel the engine of transformation. Here are some of the questions that have come up during the course of my interactions with a few members of the MEEA network that I believe resonate with other similar groups:

My quest and effort continues, to envision and enable change in a direction that will guide us into the future we want to create. I look to those who dare to push the horizons everyday, break down the silos that blind us, raise their voices as needed and lower them where it’s important to listen. And most importantly I look to nature that invites us everyday to stop, look and, if I may say, mimic her as she demonstrates collaboration and symbiosis in innumerable ways.

Climate Education Resources

ECO2School
Is there interest at your school to organize a walk or bike to school event? Would you like that event to include calculating the collective impact of participation? This is where ECO2School excels.

A couple of resources to get you started:

ECO2School Tools & Templates for Alternative Transportation Events. Everything from classroom tallysheets to sponsor letters to impact calculators.

The School Commute Carbon Footprint Calculator is a great starting point for a climate-related discussion or project. Easily adaptable for a wide variety of ages.

Sierra Club's Climate Parents
Do you know any students (and/or their families?!) who want to help their school district get to 100% clean energy? Sierra Club and Ready for 100 have already helped over 100 U.S. cities move toward that goal, and now they've teamed up to help school districts do the same.

Learn about the positive impacts schools have on students and the environment as they move to clean energy. Clean Schools Fact Sheet.

Sign up to download the Organizing Toolkit and Handbook. You can learn and teach others how to organize participants and communicate effectively with decision-makers. Comprehensive toolkit for changemakers. No need to reinvent the wheel, you jump right in and help kids make a difference!

En-ROADS Climate Simulator
Developed by Climate Interactive, MIT Sloan, and Ventana Systems, En-ROADS is a brand-spanking-new-free-to-use powerful climate simulator designed for a wide variety of audiences from classrooms to community groups. Facilitator training materials, webinars, and many more resources available, all at no-cost and designed to facilitate nuances and solutions-oriented conversations. Watch a 2-minute video about it here.


High school students are ready for and will appreciate the big picture view of tackling climate change using En-ROADS. Learn the foundations of the tool together with your class, then let your students experiment with their own solutions. The En-ROADS student assignment has two versions (shorter or more in-depth). Whichever you choose, the lessons should provoke systems thinking!

Host a community event for 20-50 people to play the Climate Simulation Role-Play Game and see how proposed solutions might play out over time. Or utilize En-ROADS at an interpretive center, where visitors can experiment with the model on their own or in small groups. So many possible uses for this new tool!

Things to Look for (or Look Out for) in January!

(check out all the green holidays)

What to Look for Right Now - MDC's list of What's Out There in January!

Kudos

Kudos to the Kansas City Council for unanimously passing the "Zero Fare Transit" proposal last month. Kansas City is the first city in the nation to make using the bus system free for all passengers. Way to go, KC!

Kudos to the Green Guard Stewardship Training sponsors, leaders, and participants! In 2019, 60 students and community members completed the 12-week program, learning about and engaging in urban envionmental stewardship. From planting trees and cleaning up waterways to learning about city water infrastructure, this is an amazing opportunity offered free of charge for Kansas Citians ages 14 and up.

Kudos to Quilen Blackwell, for his collaborative spirit and sharing his story of developing the Chicago Eco House, using environmental education as a means to "spur economic development, reduce urban blight, advance sustainability goals, reduce crime, and close historically racist socioeconomic gaps." Check out his story on the NAAEE blog.

Kudos to Rethink Outside for taking the initiative to push forward the idea that access to time in nature is a basic human right. Learn more about how you can help change the narrative about who is and who should be enjoying the outdoors at https://rethinkoutside.org/.

MEEA News

Coming Up in the Next Two Months

(These count for Environmental Educator Certification categories 1, 2 or 3. Visit the EE Certification page here)

EE Jobs details here