Student Civic Action Projects
A partnership between local schools, General Motors, Earth Force and the City of Wentzville 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 2019, fifteen sixth grade classes in the Wentzville School District completed the Earth Force program. The number of partnerships the students cultivated this year was equally as plentiful and diverse as the projects themselves. As a whole, the students worked with partners like Missouri Department of Conservation, Allen’s Tree Service, other local businesses, the
Wentzville School District staff from many different departments, the City of Wentzville and multiple homeowner associations. The students learned that they can have a positive impact on their community, but they also know how to motivate and included other community members.
The tabs below detail the process as well as projects completed by Wentzville sixth-grade students.
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.
Lakeview Elementary School Projects
Students worked to increase plant species diversity to their school by planting 100 plants which will also add butterfly habitat to their campus.
Students planted four oak species on campus to increase local bio-diversity and provide shaded areas for students to rest. The students received the trees from Forest ReLeaf.
Students decorated trash cans to add to their playground to attempt to prevent litter on their campus. The artwork consisted of messages regarding the other student projects and litter prevention.
“How to Recycle” Presentations
Students created grade specific presentations for K-5th grade, about 800 students, to help educate the students on school recycling rules and on how the litter can impact stormwater. Their presentations included demonstrations and a skit. Some of these students also presented at Mission: Clean Stream thanking the volunteers for their efforts and reminding all GM Earth Day Festival goers about how important it is to prevent litter at its source.
Heritage Intermediate Projects
Outdoor classroom Improvements
Heritage intermediate has an existing outdoor classroom which needed some sprucing up. Students planted just over 50 plants in this garden as well as remove the invading weeds.
Playground tree plantings
Students wanted to provide some shade on their playground and field. To do this they planted 7 trees along the boarder of the recess area. Not only will the trees will be enjoyed for generations to come, but they also provide habitat for local animals as well.
Storm Drain Marking
Students partnered with the “Stop the Litter” announcements group to also educate students on storm drains and the purpose of storm drain markers. After these efforts, 10 students got together for an evening of storm drain marking around their school and in nearby neighborhoods. During the marking event, students continued to say that marking the storm drains was really fun and that they wished they could spend more evenings marking the drains and talking to residents about what they are doing.
Earth Day Litter Pickup Challenge
Students created a challenge for Wentzville residents to pick up litter on Earth Day. If the groups submitted a photo, they had a chance to win a prize. The challenge organizers also participated in the event and shared a photo of their cleanup hoping to inspire even more Wentzville residents to participate in the challenge. With over 10 photo submissions, the students randomly selected and awarded Mrs. Rowen’s 6th grade class at Boone Trail Elementary a donut feast.The challenge was shared on the school district and City social media.
Wabash Elementary Projects
Students worked with the Stonemoor HOA, residents along the common grounds in the neighborhood and Allen’s Tree Service to remove the invasive plant, bush honeysuckle, from the Stonemoor common ground. The event was extremely successfully not only in the amount of bushes removed, but also the education to residents. The HOA shared information with their residents regarding the importance of the project and students got the chance to speak with curious residents on site as well. The students also worked with Allen’s Tree Service who provided debris removal for free. About 20 cubic yards of debris was removed.
Outdoor Classroom Improvements
These students worked to enhance their school campus by planting native plants and trees on their campus. These plants will provide habitat for local animals and also give younger students a chance to learn about Missouri's native plant species in person.
Storm drain classroom presentations
Students organized, created and gave presentations to over 10 classes on what storm drains are designed for and how they impact water quality. Only rain should go down a storm drain, because in Wentzville this water goes directly to a creek before being filtered. The students also sent flyers out to some local HOAs regarding the topic as well.
Fireman’s Park Tree Planting
Students enhanced the downtown area by planting 4 trees in Fireman's park. These trees were provided by Forest ReLeaf. These students also planned trees on their school campus.
TRASH CAN ARTWORK CONTEST
Students noticed the amount of litter in our community. To tackle this issue student teamed up with Friends of the Wentzville Parks and the City of Wentzville to tackle litter in Wentzville parks by hosting a trash can artwork design contest.
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
They also taught fellow students about the importance of proper recycling to avoid contamination.
To view the featured designs of 2018 and 2017 and their artists visit the contest homepage.
2018 was Wabash Elementary School’s first year. Although doors opened in August the school grounds were still being completed. On their walkabout the students noticed that the campus was missing the bio-diversity that once existed on the property before the school was built.
To address this as well as provide an area for future students to learn about nature, the students built an outdoor classroom. This includes two learning spaces and native plants including trees, grasses and flowers.
These students wanted the teachers and the students to use the outdoor classroom to its fullest. To insure optimum utilization, this class created the Quack Packs, backpacks filled out a curriculum for teachers to use.
Each pack included a lesson plan for the teacher, a book, a worksheet and a hands on activity. Over 25 packs were made each included a different lesson plan ranging from lessons on mammals to cloud identification to rain gardens. The students presented their project to teacher during a staff meeting and did live demonstrations to teachers and students at the end of the year.
PARK AND LAKE HABITAT
Students recognized that City parks don’t only provide a place for residents to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, but also provide habitat for local animals and plants.
Realizing that not everyone sees parks as a home for animals and plants, the students took action to teach students and residents about the benefits of park habitat including lake habitat and water quality.
TRASH CAN ARTWORK CONTEST
Students noticed the amount of litter in our community. To tackle this issue students teamed up with Friends of the Wentzville Parks and the City of Wentzville to tackle litter in Wentzville parks by hosting a trash can artwork design contest.
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 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. The students hope their efforts inspire residents to properly throw away their trash.
Check out the Projects' original home page. In 2019, the City of Wentzville Park and Recreation Department adopted the contest.
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 with over 900 plants. These students also wanted to raise awareness of the benefits that recycling and planting native plants could bring 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.
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. and along with Alderman Linda Wright produced a video about recycling. Check it out here: Recycling Misconceptions
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. 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.
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
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.