Teachers invited to schedule recycling ed programs

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on April 21, 2021 with No Comments

By Allison Andersen, Outreach Educator for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County

While wrapping up the 2020-2021 school year, Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County school educator Allison Andersen will soon be scheduling educational visits for fall 2021 and spring 2022.

Elementary and middle school teachers in both public and private schools in Porter County are invited to reserve their 2021-2022 class time with Andersen, starting May 3.  Educators can contact her at the district by calling 219-707-8278 or emailing aandersen@PorterCountyRecycling.org.  Programs are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

Andersen, a former teacher in the Valparaiso Schools, has been with Porter County Recycling for six years and brings district programs to thousands of students to help satisfy its educational mission.  The Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County offers an array of free programs that meet Indiana State Academic Standards for science and social studies.

“We hope our programs complement the schools’ curriculums,” said Andersen.  “We want to help schools build children’s foundation of environmental knowledge, so they will become good stewards of the Earth.”

According to Andersen, April and May are her busiest months.

“Teachers think spring and Earth Day, so April and May usually book up first,” she noted.

The “Lesson of the Lorax”, a favorite district program requested during Earth Month, reviews the basic needs of plants and animals and the importance of trees, Andersen said.

Students in kindergarten through second grades listen to Andersen read the Dr. Seuss story “The Lorax” and act out the story in the form of a play.

“Having a guest educator deliver a program in the classroom not only gives teachers a short break but adds another dimension and level of interest for the kids,” Andersen said.

Also popular during spring and fall is the program “Lovely Ladybugs,” in which kindergarteners, first- and second-graders learn about the life cycle and body parts of ladybugs, the dangers of pesticides and a safe alternative.

“Each student gets a live ladybug to examine and at the end of the program releases it into nature,” Andersen shared.

“Wonderful Worms,” a program popular year-round, also involves live specimens and provides kindergarten through sixth grade students with a lesson in vermicomposting.  Andersen said the district keeps its own vermicomposting bin at the office and raises red wigglers for the classroom visits.

Eight other programs round out the district’s school offerings for a number of grade levels:  “Edible Landfill,” third through eighth grades; “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink,” kindergarten through seventh grades; “Water Watchers,” second through fifth grades; “Dunes in My Backyard,” first through fourth grades; “Pollution Town,” third through fifth grades; “Pollution Tunnel,” kindergarten through second grades; “Renewable Energy,” fourth through seventh grades; and “Garbology”, third through eighth grades.

To accommodate classrooms that are not yet allowing visitors back in their buildings, five of the district’s educational programs are now available through video format: “Wonderful Worms,” “The Lesson of the Lorax,” “Dunes in My Backyard,” “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink,” and “Water Watchers.”

“We are excited to offer this new opportunity to classroom teachers.  Classrooms are still able to enjoy our educational programming while practicing social distancing and adhering to local covid-19 protocols,” Andersen shared.

Teachers can also opt to schedule a live Q & A session through Zoom or Google Meet following video viewing.  In addition, several programs are easily converted into a virtual session if that better meets the needs of Porter County teachers.  To find out what works best, contact Andersen.

Additional information on these programs is available at www.PorterCountyRecycling.org.

Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle.


Saturday, May 1st

Recycling & Waste Reduction District sponsors a number of mobile household hazardous waste collection events each year to help Porter County residents responsibly dispose of these unwanted products. There is no permanent location in the county that accepts these products on a regular basis. The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County has officially announced the dates for its annual series of Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days. Household Hazardous Waste or “HHW” are unwanted products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients that require special care upon disposal. HHW collections are an opportunity for residents to dispose of their old cans of cleaners, solvents, oil, gasoline, and other assorted chemicals.

The first event of the season is Saturday, May 1st, at the Porter County Expo Center (215 E Division Rd, Valparaiso, IN). Porter County residents can pick up a free tree sapling during the event. Saplings are free to the first 500 Porter County residents, one per carload, while supplies last.


Allison Andersen is the Outreach Educator for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County.  An experienced classroom teacher, she enjoys sharing her love of learning through nature, the natural environment, and sustainable development with her K-8 students.  For more information email aandersen@portercountyrecycling.org.



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