Environmental Successes in Central Missouri: Achieving a Greener Future

In 1978, the Missouri Environmental Coalition (MCE) was part of a broad coalition of groups that managed to stop the Meramec dam project, and 66% of the public agreed with them. This success was just the beginning of a long list of environmental achievements in Central Missouri. Volunteer opportunities in the area range from cleanup initiatives to legislative promotion activities, to landscaping and patrolling parks and city lawsuits. In addition, teachers receive training on how to use outdoor classrooms to teach students from kindergarten through twelfth grade about environmental issues in the local community.

For example, the Huck Environmental Problem Identification and Research Training grant funds training in identifying and researching environmental problems for sixth-grade teachers. This training increases public awareness of the health problems posed by indoor environmental hazards, involves participants in assessment projects that include practical activities, provides instruction on basic ecological principles, and identifies environmental problems faced by urban communities. The YMCA also provides an environmental education program that offers multiple opportunities for students, teachers, and the general public to learn more about forestry, prairies, streams, ponds, and caves in their community. The program provides teachers with skills that they can use to develop science and mathematics lesson plans that examine environmental issues such as water conservation, packaging waste, and waste disposal. Teachers help 24 students use environmental software to develop a project scenario that responds to an environmental health threat. The overall success of the SDARNG Sustainability Program in terms of process improvement, training and compliance is reflected in its last external audit of the Environmental Assessment and Performance System, which did not yield significant results or raise significant risk issues.

The Charles community can visit the outdoor classroom trail, the arboretum, and the ecological exhibits built by students participating in the environmental studies course. The Ivanhoe environmental education project focuses on educating Kansas City residents about health issues related to exposure to lead-based paint, asbestos, and household chemicals. Students meet in the classroom once every 10-day period and receive basic information about birds, habitat analysis, careers, and various environmental topics. Science teachers in grades twenty-six to twelve participate in a 2-day workshop on environmental education. The project also promotes the integration of environmental education into state-established, performance-based curricula. Over the past two years, managers and environmental officers at SDARNG preparation centers and training centers have made great strides in improving waste diversion and recycling, despite numerous logistical challenges.

In addition, environmental assessment equipment is available for students and teachers to use in outdoor classrooms. In conclusion, Central Missouri has achieved many successes when it comes to protecting its environment. From stopping dam projects to providing educational opportunities for students and teachers alike, there are many ways that citizens can get involved in protecting their environment.