By our Director, Michelle Feldman
When I started at KPB four a half years ago, I almost immediately began receiving emails from teachers – a few times a week – asking if we provided presentations on litter and recycling. Even though at the time we didn’t, I said, “Sure, yep, we do that! Of course we do that!” Then I nervously made my way to schools across the city and tried to get students excited about doing the right thing with their trash (which, as luck would have it, turned out to be pretty easy).
After a few months of this, it became obvious that KPB needed to build our capacity to fill what was clearly a need in our schools. How could we talk to even more students?
So, in January of 2015 we launched an experiment. We recruited a team of four volunteers, trained them on the presentation we developed, and proactively reached out to schools to schedule workshops. We also started a partnership with the School District to further develop this little anti-litter program that could.
Along with the District and the Philadelphia Streets Department, we began soliciting feedback from our volunteers as well as from in-classroom teachers to figure out what else we could do to support school-based recycling clubs, PSA campaigns, cleanups, or more. We developed a resource guide, activity sheets, and organized trainings for teachers.
Three years later, we have reached over 10,000 young Philadelphians. I’m still amazed that we have multiple presentations happening most weeks of the school year – and somehow everyone is where they’re supposed to be, for the most part.
But as always, we want to do more. We’re looking to bring on additional volunteer educators, and to figure out how else we can assist teachers in rallying their school communities to take environmental action.
Though we’ve been doing this work since 2015, in some ways it still feels like we’re just getting started. And we want you to be a part of it! If you’re a teacher looking for a presentation, we want to hear from you. If you’re passionate about education and recycling, and want to learn what it means to be a KPB volunteer educator, we want to hear from you too. Shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a ring at 215-854-4000.
In the meantime, Happy Recycling from the KPB crew!