Even Less Mercury In Schools
|Description:||Summary: The purpose of this project was to extend EPA Region 5's mercury in schools education and outreach program to the rest of the country. The web site and workshop materials that were previously developed have been updated with the latest information on mercury sources, spills, health advisories and reduction programs. In conjunction with local organizers, an educator workshop was held in each EPA Region, a comprehensive impact evaluation was conducted and an online teacher training course developed.
The objectives of this project were to enhance the teacher workshop content and format. Improve the tie between mercury issues and other learning opportunities, for example energy conservation and reducing school hazardous chemical inventories. The evaluation was utilized to improve delivery as well as increase attendance at future workshops.
New features and information were added to the Mercury in Schools web site that staff created for this program in 2000. Information sharing on this topic has been facilitated by the project partners listserv. The web site and listserv have been promoted in newsletters, on other listservs, etc.
The curriculum package that was originally developed for Wisconsin has been revised and expanded to provide a national focus to the background materials and teaching activities. Staff organized and presented a total of fourteen workshops (a minimum of one in each of the 10 EPA regions). Project staff attempted to survey workshop participants six months after each workshop to gauge the impact of the workshops, their usage of the information provided and what has actually been accomplished. A summary of the issues and concerns illustrated through this follow-up has been prepared (see attachment in Products section).
A videoconference of the Enhancing Pollution Prevention in School and Laboratory Facilities: Lessons Learned from Mercury Reduction Programs was broadcast nationally. Two online courses, Mercury in Schools, Your Community and the Environment and Mercury Reduction for Educators: Taking Action in Your Community, targeted to educate teachers on how to address the mercury issue, were created. The courses are available through the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and offer college credit for completion.
Recommendations / Lessons Learned:
Based on workshop experiences, the Mercury in Schools project staff recommend the following preferred workshop approach.
• Target a specific school district, rather than a region or state.
• Involve the science or curriculum coordinator in early planning efforts.
• Arrange for some kind of release or payment for teachers and/or other staff to attend the workshop.
• Enlist one or more partners at the local, regional or state level that have the contacts, contracts and/or funding to handle replacement and proper disposal of mercury and mercury containing equipment.
• Help the school district create a mercury action plan.
• Follow-up with participants to make sure that mercury reduction efforts stay on track.
• Work with school janitorial/maintenance/engineering/purchasing staff.
• Develop a CD or video to support local mercury training efforts.
• Train the trainers on integrating mercury reduction into state specific curriculum or general lesson planning.
• Work with state education departments on waste minimization and toxics reduction.
• Develop a national mercury free pledge program and present awards to participating schools.
• Produce a how-to manual on conducting a mercury collection in the school.
• Partner with community service programs such as 4-H to develop a community based mercury reduction service.
Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are funding this project.
Organizations Receiving Funding
Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are receiving funding for this project.
Below is a list of associated organizations that are NOT giving or receiving funding for this project.
EPA Regional Office (Regions 1 - 10) - Partner
Other Not Shown
Kansas Environmental Educators Association - Partner
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, Kansas 66502
North Dakota Science Teachers Association - Partner
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR)
One East Hazelwood Drive Champaign, IL 61820