TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced today that Jena Sims, Wichita, a 3rd grade teacher at Wichita Collegiate School, Eli Schoeman and Leanne Stewart, Lenexa, 5th grade teachers at Canyon Creek Elementary and Lesley Riddell-Koch, Wichita, 8th grade teacher at Maize South Middle School, has been selected as the winners of the 2022 Keep It Clean Kansas Outreach Challenge.
KDHE partnered with the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) to launch the challenge in August 2022, which consisted of 19 entries from over 150 teachers in grades upper elementary and middle schools across the state is part of the “Keep it Clean Kansas Challenge,” a statewide contest held by KDHE in which students formed groups or participated as a class to create and submit an outreach project that educates and promotes recycling, composting or waste reduction activities.
Sims and the other winners will now have their projects displayed on the Keep It Clean Kansas website.
“I am extremely impressed with the creativity and dedication of the students and the teachers supporting them,” KDHE Secretary Stanek. “We are thrilled to see this program grow to fulfill its purpose. I congratulate them on winning the competition and look forward to seeing their projects on the website. I also thank all the others who took the time to enter the competition.”
“We loved this challenge! It really helped with making our learning authentic, which is a huge aspect of Project Based Learning. The kids really enjoyed sorting through the trash, and our school is better off because of this challenge,” said Eli Schoeman, winner from Canyon Creek Elementary.
Educators and students also received access to the free KACEE virtual classroom Waste Investigation, featuring a curriculum of on-demand videos and activities focused on recycling, composting and waste reduction. This virtual classroom continues to expand with content.
Simms created a YouTube music video set to the tune of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ to do waste audits at the school that can be viewed here.
In addition to Simms, other winners and their works included:
- Schoeman and Stewart split into teams and took on the challenge of educating every grade level K-4 and faculty and staff through fun presentations, posters and videos. View one of the eight videos highlighting their work here.
- Riddell-Koch worked with students to put together presentations that students could share with their peers focusing on issues such as “Landfills and Plastic Water Bottles,” “Plastic Pollutions and their Consequences” and “How to We Encourage More People to Use the Three R’s?”.
The winners were also awarded $1,000 for their classrooms.
Visit kacee.org/kick-challenge to gain access to the Google Classroom materials.
The Keep it Clean Kansas challenge was created to encourage students to learn more about waste reduction. Mark your calendar to check kdhe.ks.gov/1956 in August for the latest on the 2023 KICK Outreach Challenge.