MORROW COUNTY – Local educators Lindsey Grimm (Morrow County Recycling/Keep Morrow County Beautiful) and Candace Heer (OSU Extension Morrow County) have been active members of the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Sustainability Team since its inception in early 2020. The State’s sustainability team was inspired by a survey by an Ohio State University expert who indicated that food waste and single-use plastic pollution are the top sustainability-related issues in their communities.
Sustainability team members worked together to develop a variety of materials, tools and resources to educate adults and youth about food waste and plastic pollution; Help adults and youth identify small behavior changes that can be sustained as ultimate habits, and equip extension educators with training tools and resources to achieve these goals. The team’s efforts gained national recognition on September 15, 2022, when the team received the Environmental Education Award presented by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS). The Environmental Education Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted by an individual or team that have been involved in educating families and/or communities on a variety of environmental issues/concerns including water quality, air quality, recycling and/or conservation of natural resources. The NEAFCS awards were presented this year at the NEAFCS Annual Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team was also recognized as a winner of the First Place Central Region Award and invited to present a Showcase of Excellence (poster presentation) during the NEAFCS Annual Meeting.
Here is a short list of some of the sustainability tools and resources that have been developed.
• A series of 3-minute videos entitled “Sustainable Action through Video Engagement” (SAVE) on topics such as sustainability in the kitchen, reducing single-use plastics, sustainability of dishwashers, composting, sustainable de-icing, sustainable vacation ideas, reducing food waste, hiking and sustainability as well as sustainable summer tips.
• A 4-H idea launcher was developed to raise awareness of waste and help 4-H members find ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and reuse. It is planned to develop this into a project book.
• A set of factsheets on reducing single-use plastics, food waste and other issues to be distributed during programs and fairs.
• A 3D virtual reality house tour that educates people about different sustainable practices for each room of the house.
• A Sustainable Meetings Guide to help businesses, organizations and community groups host sustainable meetings and conferences.
• Two webinars that trained extension professionals on how and when to use these materials.
Sustainability team members include: Family and Consumer Sciences, Associate Professor and Field Specialist Dan Remley (Ohio State University – South Centers, Piketon); Family and Consumer Science Extension Educators: Alisha Barton (Miami County), Marie Economos (Mahoning County), Candace J. Heer (Morrow County), Laura Stanton (Warren County), and Community Partner Lindsey Grimm, Morrow County Recycling/Keep Morrow County Beautiful Program Director (Morrow County).
Lindsey Grimm and Candace Heer.