In May of 2019, we completed our spring Green Guard Stewardship Program at East High School. Over the course of three months, stewards participated in a total of 12 classes and two workdays in the 13-acre forest patch at East High School, Alex George Lake, Munipical Farm, KC Water, Blue Valley Park, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Discovery Center, and other local sites. Stewards represented East High School, East High School’s English Language Learners Program, Northeast High School, Blue Valley neighborhood, Brookside neighborhood, Rockhurst University, and the University of Oregon. Nearly 30 Alliance partners contributed their time to teach and mentor throughout the program.
Stewards consistently reported above average improvement in their knowledge of water quality, geography, leadership, and career paths at the completion of the program. Stewards increased their understanding of the severity of invasive plant species, climate change, water pollution, trash and litter, air pollution, endangered species, and lack of recreational lands.
In the program evaluation, stewards had the chance to share what they enjoyed most about the program. Responses included exploring nature, cleaning up litter along the Blue River, learning new information about the environment, networking with local professionals, and learning about local issues and resources. Stewards were also asked which subject was the most valuable to them and responses included learning about our rivers and how to protect them, environmental justice, composting and the waste stream, watershed education, and green infrastructure. Stewards shared what they appreciated most about the program:
“Green Guard has REALLY opened my eyes to how insanely important nature is and how even the smallest things we do can affect it. Talking about environmental justice was most valuable to me because I want to be a lawyer and I'd love to fight for under-appreciated people and forces of nature.”
-Adrienne from East High School
“The Blue River clean-up was very fun. I liked this the most because we only had an hour to clean up and we already had 3-4 bags filled with trash. It just goes to show that with everyone's help we can achieve anything.”
-An’joli from East High School
“I got to learn about our problems here and in the world. I'm going to try to make these problems lessen.”
-Anthony from Northeast High School
“Y'all are super awesome. My time wasn't wasted and I learned a lot (about) the woods behind the school and during the litter clean-up at the Little Blue. I love the bright energy you guys give. It makes not going straight home worth it.”
-Atra-Niese from East High School
“I enjoyed when we went on the field trips and appreciate all the information and everyone who came to join us.” -Lailia from East High School’s Engligh Language Learners program