While wrapping up the 2018-2019 school year, Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction School Educator Allison Andersen will soon begin scheduling her educational visits for fall 2019 and spring 2020.
Elementary and middle school teachers in both public and private schools in Porter County are invited to reserve their 2019-2020 class time with Andersen starting May 1. Educators can contact Andersen at the district by calling 707-8278 or emailing aandersen@PorterCountyRecycling.org. Programs are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.
Andersen, a former teacher in the Valparaiso schools, has been with Porter County Recycling for more than four years and brings district programs to thousands of students to help satisfy its educational mission. Porter County Recycling offers an array of free programs that meet Indiana State Academic Standards for science and social studies.
The environmental lessons are thought-provoking and interactive, prompting continued inquiry through exploration, logical thinking and discovery.
“We hope our programs complement the schools’ curriculums,” said Andersen. “We want to help schools build children’s foundation of environmental knowledge, so they will become good stewards of the Earth.”
According to Andersen, April is her busiest month.
“Teachers think spring and Earth Day, so April usually books up first,” she said.
The “Lesson of the Lorax,” a favorite district program requested during Earth Month, reviews the basic needs of plants and animals and the importance of trees, she said.
Students in kindergarten through second grades read the Dr. Seuss story "The Lorax” and act out the story in the form of a play.
“Having a guest educator deliver a program in the classroom not only gives teachers a short break, but adds another dimension and level of interest for the kids,” Andersen said.
Also extremely popular during spring and fall is the program “Lovely Ladybugs,” where kindergarteners, first and second graders learn about the life cycle and body parts of ladybugs, the dangers of pesticides and a safe alternative.
“Each student gets a live ladybug to examine and at the end of the program releases it into nature,” Andersen said.
“Wonderful Worms,” a program popular year-round, also highlights live specimens and provides kindergarten through sixth grade students with a lesson in vermicomposting. Andersen said the district keeps its own vermicomposting bin at the office and raises red wigglers for the classroom visits.
Eight other programs round out the district’s school offerings for a number of grade levels: “Edible Landfill,” third through eighth grades; “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink,” kindergarten through seventh grades; “Water Watchers,” second through fifth grades; “Dunes in My Backyard,” first through fourth grades; “Pollution Town,” third through fifth grades; “Pollution Tunnel,” kindergarten through second grades; “Renewable Energy,” fourth through seventh grades; and “Garbology,” third through eighth grades.
Additional information on these programs is available on the Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction website.