The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) partners with the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) to host the Keep It Clean Kansas (KICK) Outreach Challenge, a competition for Kansas students in grades Pre-K -12. Classrooms work as a team to create and share projects that educate others about recycling, composting, and other waste reduction activities in Kansas. Three classrooms are selected each year to win a grand prize of $1,000.
In addition to competing in the KICK Outreach Challenge, educators and students receive access to a free virtual classroom, also known as the “Waste Investigation,” which features a curriculum of on-demand videos and activities centered around recycling, composting, and waste reduction — virtual “office” hours for students and educators to meet and communicate with professional environmental educators. The course is student-driven and provides countless learning opportunities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). KACEE hosts the online course and counts it as one of the two courses needed to achieve recognition as a Kansas Green School of Excellence.
As an added benefit to Kansas educators, KDHE sponsors up to 25 educators annually to participate in an online professional development course to become a Green Leader and receive one Graduate Credit through Baker University.
The Global Guardians participated in every aspect of the KICK Challenge and Waste Investigation. This included the messy job of conducting waste audits for their school. To share their new expertise, they created a music video and lyrics set to the tune of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. But in this case, these third graders are singing “Sort it Out”! Watch the Sort It Out video
Eli Schoeman and Leanne Stewart, 5th Grade Classes
Team Name: The Canyon Creek Green Team
The Canyon Creek Green team proved that no one is too young or too old to learn how to recycle correctly. These 5th graders split into eight teams and took on the challenge of educating every grade level K-4 through fun presentations, posters, and videos. But they didn’t stop there. The Canyon Creek Green Team educated faculty members on the benefits of recycling correctly at their school. Now everyone at Canyon Creek Elementary has the knowledge to Recycle Right!
These middle schoolers can teach us a thing or two about recycling. Splitting into nine teams, these students researched and presented their hard-hitting findings to their classmates. Presentation topics spanned far and wide, focusing on issues such as “Landfills and Plastic Water Bottles,” “KICK Plastic Ring Pollution,” and “How Do We Encourage More People to Use the Three R’s?”. Thanks to the hard work of Maize South Middle School, more than 80 students now know more about the environment and their impacts.