Millard Extension schools in Omaha, Nebraska, have made waves within the Grades of Green community in recent months. With a Grades of Green Team with 29 students from ages 5 to 20, this ambitious school district has participated in many environmental projects. Their projects range from litter collection to protecting Monarch butterflies. Amidst their busy schedule and many ambitions, Millard Extension schools have made friends with other Grades of Green Schools along the way.
Connections through the Water Challenge
They met with St. Roza in Uganda and Malezi Community School in Kenya during the 2017 Water Challenge. After the challenge, they have continued to combine their strengths and efforts and have helped each other create stronger solutions to environmental issues.
Sustainable Tilapia Farming
Shawn Graham, a Science teacher helping with the Millard Grades of Green Team, has focused on helping his team with implementing sustainable agriculture in the North Central Region. Shawn and his students were nominated as finalists for Nebraska’s Step Forward Awards last year for their efforts in sustainable tilapia farming. This sustainable system created a more efficient way to produce food, educated others on the importance of strong water quality, and provides economic opportunities to tackle food insecurity.
Sharing their Work Around the World
The ambitious Grades of Green Team at Millard Schools wanted to do even more. They shared their plans and ideas with their Water Challenge Friends, St. Roza and Malezi Community school. Jay, a student with the Grades of Green Team, wrote a grant to bring awareness to food issues that people in both Kenya and Nebraska had. The team used their sustainable fishing and agriculture projects to help people with food insecurity and sustainability on a global scale. Moreover, Millard’s Team worked with organizations and schools in the North Central Region to address the food needs of the 12 states in the region. Expanding the project allowed participating students to do the following: first, the students had a chance to use STEM skills to solve real world issues. Second, the participating students addressed food insecurity, sustainability, and aquaculture needs in the North Central Region. Third, the students had glimpses into real world business experience.
More Opportunities to Learn
In addition, their Grades of Green Team has collaborated with University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an education program. This program seeks to provide students an opportunity to work with scientists working on water related research- improving their STEM skills and knowledge of environmental issues. By mentoring younger generations, scientists can nurture a strong respect for knowledge and environmental stewardship for years to come. This prepares students for new challenges, economic shifts, and the ability to help others.
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