Conservationists can be hired already trained, but a special interest group is hedging their bets that the next environmental stewards are young children learning the ABCs of conservation as well as traditional subjects.
Keep East Feliciana Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, hosted an Environmental Teachers’ Workshop on Saturday, February 19 at Clinton United Methodist Church for “changemakers” from the parishes of East Feliciana, West Feliciana, and St. Helena in the hope that the classroom will be the place to teach children to love and care for their community.
Nannette Egros, president of the East Feliciana Group, said the lesson series is for students through fifth grade and is called Roxy’s Toolbox. Roxy, a whimsical cartoon raccoon, guides the child through topics such as recycling, litter and pollution.
Egros hopes the creature often referred to as the trash panda can have a lasting effect on young people. “There is such a big problem here and I hope it will make a difference,” she said. “Every little bit counts, and you have to get the kids out first and when the parents don’t know, the kids will turn those parents around, especially when they tell them there could be a $500 fine for throwing garbage.”
Keep East Feliciana Beautiful formed in 2010 and has been active for 12 years with a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. Egros teaches gifted art in the school system and challenged his students to create art sculptures using mannequin heads and detritus found in their immediate surroundings. The best entries were exhibited for the workshop.
The Audubon Library System supported the effort by providing an exhibit of books covering the environment, waste control, and related concepts for elementary school students.
The Keep Louisiana Beautiful workshops introduce teachers to an environmental education program aimed at helping students become good stewards of the environment. The program contains 11 environmental lesson plans, hands-on and interactive activities, fun worksheets, standards for grade-level students, and additional resources.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful has 40 affiliates and 261,618 volunteers and participants across the state.
The workshop was led by Alma Robichaux, Education Coordinator at the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary National Program. His topics include waste definition, waste timeline, waste decomposition, watershed, clean water, effects on wildlife, plastic pollution, reduction, reuse, recycling, marine debris and civic responsibility.
Workshop participants received a $100 stipend, continuing education credits and a course manual. for attending the full workshop. For more information, visit www.keeplouisianabeautiful.org.