The mission of the Oklahoma Association for Environmental Education (OKAEE) is to support Oklahoma educators and promote, in formal and non-formal settings, environmental literacy through communication, resource sharing, skill building, and recognition of excellence.
- Create a networking system to facilitate discussion and resource sharing among Oklahoma environmental educators.
- Encourage, promote and assist in the development and dissemination of environmental education.
- Conduct and support environmental education programs in the state.
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Oklahoma student receives the President’s Environmental Youth Award
A kindergartner from St. Mary’s Episcopal school in Edmond, Oklahoma is among the national winners of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). Rhodes Molenda received the award for starting a cost-free recycling program and developing campaign to save electricity at the school.
Rhodes decided to take action when he learned that the school’s recycling program was coming to an end. Rhodes devised a new recyclables collection program that would be cost-free for the school. After seeking support from the school’s administrator, Rhodes placed recycling bins in each classroom and staff workroom. Every week, Rhodes and students from the Beyond the Classroom program collected plastic, aluminum, and paper recyclables. A local Girl Scout Troop then took these recyclables to the proper disposal location. By collecting and delivering the recyclables, the school did not need to pay for a separate recycling service, making the project cost- free and sustainable with ongoing support from student volunteers.
Inspired by Rhodes’ recycling initiative, students in the Beyond the Classroom program launched another campaign to save electricity. To begin, the students are turning off school computers each afternoon and taking responsibility to restart them each morning. In another classroom, students are encouraged to use reusable lunch boxes instead of plastic or paper bags. In fact, across the school there has been a shift in attitude with young students holding teachers and staff accountable for properly sorting recyclables. Rhodes hopes to establish a program for composting cafeteria leftovers in the near future.