Student Civic Action Projects
The Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) creates opportunities for young people in our community to learn about watersheds in which they live and use that information to better our local waterways. Through this program, students work with community experts, local organizations, and mentors from General Motors and the City of Wentzville to improve our community.
This Earth Force project-based learning system develops communication and teamwork skills as well as encourages excitement in studies of science, mathematics, engineering and social studies.
In 2017, sixth graders at Wentzville Middle School cultivated six different civic action projects. The following showcase their accomplishments.
Earth Force's Six Step Process
The Community Action and Problem-Solving Process is a six-step model (image below) that combines the best of civic engagement and education. In Wentzville, the Inventory (Step 1) consists of a trip to a local stream to study indicators of stream pollution and a community walkabout where the students identify water pollution issues in their community.
Tackling Litter in Local Parks
TRASH CAN ARTWORK CONTEST
Wentzville Middle School students, Friends of the Wentzville Parks, GREEN Earth Force, and the City of Wentzville teamed up to Tackle Litter in Wentzville parks by sponsoring a trash can artwork contest. The goal of this effort was to raise public awareness to help prevent litter in our local parks and community.
Students wrote letters to stakeholders to acquire donations in order to reach their budget goals and then also nominated seven stakeholder organizations to be on the contest judging panel (listed below).
General Motors Wentzville Assembly
Wentzville District Central Office
Wentzville Middle School Office
City of Wentzville
Friends of the Wentzville Parks
Wentzville Parks & Recreation
Stormwater Advisory Committee
A special "thank you" to Friends of the Wentzville Parks for donating $500 to the student civic action project. Thank you for all of your support! The students attended a committee meeting to present their project to the members of the Friends of the Wentzville Parks board (below).
The trash cans are can be found in Heartland Park, Peruque Valley Park and Splash Station. The students challenge you to find all 12 art-clad, vinyl-wrapped trash cans. The trash cans display 24 works of art from Wentzville Students and Residents.
To view the featured designs and their artists visit the contest homepage.
Butterflies and Bees
Rallying to join the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, another group of students planted native species to attract pollinators such as monarch butterflies and native bees. The students planted Swamp Milkweed, Joe Pye Weed, Blue False Indigo and Soft Rush.
Students organized their efforts to insure planting day was a success. They researched which plants would be best for the area near the board walk to insure the 400 which they would plant would continue to beautify the park for years. The day of the planting the students organized swiftly and finished their planting despite having so many plants.
Be sure to greet the monarchs that visit the new garden near the lake boardwalk in Heartland Park this September and October!
Everyone Can Recycle
Students worked with City planners to write a policy to encourage future multi-family home developments to change their recycling habits. Single-family homes can participate in curbside recycling, however, anyone living in a multi-family dwelling must drive their recyclables to a recycling center. Students hope that a building plan review requirement to provide a recycling dumpster area will encourage recycling and relieve over-flowing dumpsters.
Students gathered data on recycling habits of Wentzville residents who live in multi-family developments. They found that these residents desired to recycle, however, did not have the means to do so. After drafting the policy, the students introduced it to the Stormwater Advisory Committee who agreed to present the policy to the Board of Aldermen. The Board then directed City staff to further look into the policy.
Students teamed up with the Wentzville School District and the school's gardening club to address a bio-retention maintenance issue on school property. They restored a rain garden that was recently modified by the construction of Schroeder Creek Boulevard. These actions will not only improve runoff water quality of the recently expanded parking lot, but also beautify the area.
The students diligently organized the planting plan. With 900 plants to install in just under two days, the students knew they needed to be prepared.
These students also wanted to raise awareness of the benefits that recycling and planting native plants could bring our community. They spoke with more than 500 second and third graders at Heritage Elementary about these issues and ways they, even as young students, could get involved and help our community.
Fish: Home Sweet Home
Fish call Heartland Park home as well. So, to improve park biodiversity, the students worked to enhance their habitat. Students planted 16 trees and shrubs along the lake shoreline to provide shade to help regulate water temperature. More than 100 smaller plants were added along the shoreline to provide cover for the fish. The students planted Swamp White Oak trees and Button Bush, as well as Soft Rush and Blue Flag Iris.
For weeks, they researched and considered each plant's soil and moisture needs. They then organized their planting layout accordingly. The effort culminated with the habitat planting in May.
Recycling Can Be Fun Too
This group of students were concerned with trash that finds its way into storm drains. After some research, they came to the conclusion that most of the trash getting into storm drains is recyclable. They designed a plan to reach out to Wentzville residents in an effort to educate them on recycling and storm drains.
They attended a Home Owner Association Symposium in March 2017 where they spoke about their cause. The students also attended the GM Green Earth Day Festival where they hosted a recycling game to educate and excite the public to recycle more.
The students along with Alderman Linda Wright produced a video about recycling. Check it out here: Recycling Misconceptions
In the U.S. and Canada in 2016, the Earth Force program engaged 15,000 students in 42 communities implemented 61 projects to better their communities and local ecosystems.
Students worked on several projects to improve our community's water resources. Including recording a video with Alderman Wright and launched Toss 10 on Tuesday to challenge the public to pick up 10 pieces of trash on any given Tuesday. Students also conducted a campus-wide litter pickup, made wildlife habitat improvements and planted native landscaping at Heartland Park.
The City dedicated a monument in their honor at Heartland Park to highlight the student's hard work and accomplishments to make Wentzville a more beautiful place to live – now and in the future.