Inside the Outdoors, OCDE’s popular environmental education program, has netted a sizable grant to present standards-based lessons on the science of solid waste to nearly a million Orange County students.
At last week’s county Board of Supervisors meeting, OC Waste & Recycling formally presented $946,558 to representatives from the Inside the Outdoors Foundation to support the service-learning program known as Project Zero Waste.
The funding will pay for field trips, workshops taught by Inside the Outdoors’ team of Traveling Scientists, school gardens and other project-based learning efforts over the next five years, according to Lori Kiesser, development director for Inside the Outdoors. More than 900,000 K-12 students in Orange County are expected to be impacted.
“Inside the Outdoors’ partnership with OC Waste & Recycling allows students to connect classroom lessons to real-life local priorities,” Kiesser said. “When a student experiences science through project-based learning, they are able to make connections with their community.”
Project Zero Waste is a partnership between OC Waste & Recycling and Inside the Outdoors that began in 2009 to teach kids about solid waste — a term that applies to just about any garbage or refuse, including discarded materials and sludge from wastewater treatment plants.
Students receive in-depth lessons in classes or through field trips before designing and implementing their own solid-waste reduction initiatives. In the past these have included recycling campaigns, school gardens and community clean-up events.
Through the end of the last school year, approximately 350,000 students had benefited from the program, and follow-up assessments demonstrated its efficacy in promoting STEM knowledge.