Environmental education is the chief focus of the work we do here at the Hendricks County Solid Waste Management District. Amy Sieferman, our full-time Outreach Coordinator, does this through free, hands-on programs brought right to the classroom. Most of our programs meet or correlate with the Indiana Academic Standards. We reach approximately 10,000 Hendricks County students per year with fun programs that cover social studies, reading and speaking, science, and a little bit of math.
This year, in keeping with the brand new Indiana Science Standards, we have changed a few programs to reflect more of an emphasis on process-driven, engineering-related, and problem and project-based science. We will continue to offer some of the basic “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” programs, but will also be adding programs like “Cotton Ball Launchers” (Force and Motion), “Packaging and Materials Engineering” (students become materials engineers to design packaging) , “Recycled Pumpkins” (Composting and Decomposition) and for older students “Waste Audits” (identify, then develop and implement strategies for reducing waste).
Some of our most popular programs will still be offered like “Garbage Pizza” (make a pizza pie chart representing our waste stream), “Litter: Pick it up, Don’t Pass it Up” (identify litter, where it comes from and how to stop it, and then do a school grounds clean-up), “Worms Are Still Eating My Garbage” (learn about worm composting), “How Do They Do That?” (how are recycled items turned into new items and why), “Pop Bottle Science” (reinforces scientific concepts by reusing pop bottles), “Pop Bottle Terrarium”, “Not Just Any Snow” (learn how snow is made using disposable diaper polymers), “Who Polluted White Lick Creek” (learn about proper disposal and handling of hazardous materials with a ‘whodunit?’ mystery),
Of course, we recognize the equal importance of teaching the arts as well as science. We also offer “Trash to Treasure” crafts that coincide with some of our favorite environmental books or holidays. And don’t forget, we offer a book study of Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet” and a musical “Jammin with Junk” program, too. And, we also make some time for fun and games! We have Earth Day Scavenger hunts available as well as a game called “Enviro-survivor” that challenges players physically and mentally.
To learn more about the programs offered including scheduling information, visit our EnviroMENTAL Educator website, call Amy at 317-858-6070 or contact her via email. Dates fill quickly, so contact us soon.