Local Teachers Get Schooled with MWA

posted 7/21/2016

Residents in Central Iowa know about Metro Waste Authority’s waste disposal facilities, but in all likelihood do not know we have an Environmental Learning Center (ELC). The ELC is a former farmstead located on Metro Park East Landfill property near Mitchellville. A partnership between MWA, Drake University and the SE Polk School District offers hands-on environmental learning for students at the facility, but this month, the teachers became the students at two Teach the Teacher workshops!

Dr. Keith Summerville, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Drake University, conducted the Teach the Teacher workshops. Teachers were taught how to apply hands-on ecology techniques (collecting, identifying, and appreciating Iowa’s plants and animals) to their classroom science curriculum.

The week-long workshops were open to all teachers in our service area. Thirteen instructors from Saydel, Waukee, DMPS East High School, SE Polk and our own Education Coordinator Jenny Koska, attended this year. The workshop included sessions in water quality, small mammal populations, capturing (and releasing) birds, turtles, and small mammals for identification and study, trail-cam analysis, and more.

The attendees were enthusiastic and engaged. At the end of the week, each instructor created a their own student environmental science unit and presented to the group for critique. The unit designs were then finalized, duplicated and distributed to each instructor. Voila! Thirteen great ecology focused lesson plans! That is a BIG win for local students!