Division of Environmental Quality

Environmental Outreach Programs Offered by
the St. Louis Regional Office

The St. Louis regional office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) offers educational presentations to schools and youth groups. This public service is provided at NO COST for residents of Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Lincoln, Montgomery, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Warren counties.

These interactive presentations cover topics including air pollution, water pollution, drinking water, electronics recycling and more.  We at the MDNR use concepts from ecology, chemistry, and systematics in our daily work.  Many of the following presentations show how we apply these concepts to local environmental evaluations.  Presentations also convey the important role that students and parents can play in reducing pollution.   Classroom sessions can be between 40 – 60 minutes and are designed for a group of less than 30 students.

Fill out our online Outreach Request page to schedule a presentation or for more information please contact:

Linda Wegrzyn
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
St. Louis Regional Office
7545 S. Lindbergh, Suite 210
St. Louis, MO 63125
314-416 2960
Email: linda.wegrzyn@dnr.mo.gov

Ecosystem Connections                                                   Grades 5-6
The terms food web, producers, consumers, and decomposers are defined along with herbivore, omnivore and carnivore. Students also discuss the concepts of a habitat, an ecosystem, and how each organism plays a role in keeping our ecosystem balanced.   6th graders also explore the factors that affect the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support.  Finally students put it all together by studying an organism native to Missouri and exploring that creature’s habitat to see the species connections.  This activity is done outdoors in a natural setting on the school grounds or at a camp. At least two school or camp personnel need to be present, and clear boundaries set for the area that students can explore.  
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 4 - Grade 4: 1. D., 2. A.
Strand 4 - Grade 6: 1. A. B. D., 2. A.

Drinking Water Filtration                                                    Grades 4-8
Students learn about where their drinking water comes from and the difference between surface water and ground water.  Students participate in an activity where they filter out the pollutants from a sample of water and record their observations.  The terms aeration, coagulation, sedimentation, and filtration are demonstrated.  The discussion includes common water pollutants and why water must be treated.  Eighth graders also learn about some of the organisms that cause waterborne diseases. Classroom discussion includes water conservation, common water pollutants, and easy things we can all do to reduce water pollution. If done for multiple classes, this presentation takes at least 50 minutes to an hour.   
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 1 – Grade 4 &5: 1. B.
Strand 5 – Grade 5: 1. B.  Grade 6: 3. A.
Strand 3 – Grade 8: 2. G.
Strand 7 – Grade 4-8: 1. B.

Macro-invertebrate Identification                                     Grades 5-6
Students will identify preserved specimens of macro-invertebrates found in a Missouri stream such as Mayfly larva, Dragonfly larva, Scuds, Leeches etc.  Students use a dichotomous key to classify macro invertebrates to the phylogenic level of order.  Interactions among organisms and their environment are explored. Students also learn what citizens can do to reduce water pollution to keep our ecosystems healthy.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 3 - Grade 5: 1. E.
wetStrand 5 – Grade 6: 3. A.

Water Cycle Reenactment                                                 Grades 2-4
In this whole body activity, students pretend to be “raindrops” and travel through the water cycle, visiting plants, animals, rivers, ground water, and oceans.  Students move through the processes of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation along their journey and discuss the fact that water can be three different physical states of matter.  At the conclusion of their journey, participants draw a picture or write a story about their travels through the water cycle.  Students also learn how citizens can help reduce water pollution.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 1 – Grade 3: 1. D, Grade 5: 1.D.
Strand 5 – Grade 3: 1. C., 2. E.  Grade 5: 2. E.

What’s an Aquifer?                                                             Grades 3-6
This presentation is ideal for schools and communities that get their drinking water from well water.  Students learn the difference between ground water and surface water, then split into groups to observe small model aquifers.  Groundwater, wells, and how stormwater percolates into the soil are discussed.  Students write observations about the model aquifer and make predictions about the effect of pollution on a nearby well.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 5 – Grade 5: 1.B., Grade 6: 3. A.
Strand 7 – Grade 3-6: 1. B.

 

MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL

Air Pollution 101                                                                  Grades 9-12
Students learn about the six criteria pollutants designated by the EPA including ozone air pollution in a PowerPoint presentation.  Students will also learn about the health effects of ozone air pollution and how it is created.  The St. Louis area is still a non-attainment area for federal clean air standards for ozone.   Students use a worksheet to determine what type(s) of air pollution are created by many common activities.  They also share some examples of common activities that create air pollution to find out who’s “The Biggest Polluter”.  This presentation also includes a quick overview of careers in environmental protection.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 4 – Grade 9-12: 1. D.
Strand 8 – Grade 9 – 12: 3. B. 

Air Pollution at School                                                       Grades 6-8
Buses that leave the engine running and parents that let cars idle at school create a lot of air pollution right where children are breathing.  This presentation includes basic information about air pollution, ozone air pollution in the St. Louis area, and how to create an idle reduction program at your school.  Students will divide into groups to create posters, a letter to bus drivers, and other parts of an idling reduction campaign.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 8 – Grade 6-8: 1. C., 3. B.

Electronics Recycling in Missouri                                   Grades 7-12
Is your old T.V. considered a hazardous waste?  Through a PowerPoint presentation, students review data about electronics waste in the United States.  High school students will learn about the properties of elements and compounds commonly used in electronics.  Junior high students learn about conductors, semi-conductors and insulators.  They will also recognize the limited availability of major mineral deposits in the United States, and the negative impacts associated with mining. Students take a look at some common electronics items to recognize the toxic materials inside them. Finally participants learn how they can recycle their computer at no charge through the Missouri Computer Equipment Collection and Recovery Act and find out about the resources at http://www.ecyclemo.org.   
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 1 – Grade 7: 2. A. l.;  Grade 8: 1. A.; Grade 9–11: 1. A. b. d.
Strand 4 – Grade 9-11: 1. D.
Strand 5 – Grade 9–11: 3. A.
Strand 8 – Grade 6-12: 1. C., 3. B. 

Safe Drinking Water                                                            Grades 9-12
In this PowerPoint presentation, students learn about where their drinking water comes from and the difference between surface water and ground water.  Aquifers, karst topography, and the importance of well water in Missouri are also explored.  Students find out about the Safe Drinking Water Act and some common waterborne diseases.   Classroom discussion includes water conservation, common water pollutants, and easy things we can all do to keep our water resources clean.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 5 – Grade 9 – 12: 1. B. 
Strand 8 – Grade 9 – 12:  3. B. 

Water Pollution in Missouri                                               Grades 9-12
What are the major sources of water pollution in Missouri?  Students learn about the four primary types of water pollution, and common water pollution sources.  Students use a worksheet to analyze pollution sources and learn which of these has the most impact on Missouri’s water bodies.   Students also learn about what contaminants have caused some streams in the St. Louis area to be listed as “impaired”, and what citizens can do to reduce stormwater pollution.  This presentation also includes a quick overview of careers in environmental protection.
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 4 – Grade 9-11: 1. C., D.

Who Polluted Big Creek?                                        Grades 6-8
Through a PowerPoint presentation, students learn the concept of a watershed, and learn about the watershed they live in.  Next students learn about the four primary types of water pollution and the effects of water pollution on our ecosystems.  Then students investigate common sources of urban pollution to try to solve the mystery of who polluted Big Creek.  Interactions among organisms and their environment are explored.  Students also share their thoughts about how to reduce or eliminate many common sources of non-point source pollution. 
Missouri Science Grade Level Expectations addressed:
Strand 4 – Grade 6: 1. D.
Strand 5 – Grade 6: 3. A.

What other activities or educational resources would you like to see the department offer?  Send us your feedback.

Recycling and Waste Reduction Presentation Links

St. Louis County

St. Louis City

St. Charles County

Jefferson County

St. Louis Teachers Recycle Center