Keep East Feliciana Beautiful Hosts Environmental Education Workshop for Educators

Keep East Feliciana Beautiful welcomed 23 educators from the East Feliciana, West Feliciana, and St. Helena parishes to a five-hour environmental education workshop on February 19, 2022 at First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Clinton. Using the Rocksey’s Toolbox K-5 curriculum, Alma Robichaux, Education Specialist with Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB), touched on litter and its harmful environmental impacts, the importance of reusing and recycling, and ways to practice environmental stewardship with kids.  


Rocksey’s Toolbox features Rocksey, a friendly racoon who helps children understand the importance of taking care of their planet. The Toolbox was created by KLB with the intention of yielding a positive change in our youth’s perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors related to the environment. Each of the 11 lessons includes an overview, learning targets, identified student standards, a materials list, background information, activities targeting different grade levels, a call to action, and resources. At the end of each lesson, students are encouraged to apply what they learned through student-driven activities.  


Robichaux led the teachers through the Rocksey’s Toolbox lessons and tested their knowledge on the subject matter at the start and finish of the workshop. Participants also completed a survey, providing feedback and rating the effectiveness of the training.  


One educator commented, “This was a fantastic workshop. It was very informative and gave us a ton of different ways to teach and explain why keeping our state, community, and country beautiful is so incredibly important.” 


Environmental literacy is of particular importance in Louisiana. Louisiana’s positioning at the mouth of the Mississippi River makes it extremely vulnerable, as over 30 states in the U.S. drain down the river bringing with it toxic runoff, litter, and debris. In July 2017, LSU professor Mark Benfield concluded a study that found the Gulf of Mexico has concentrations of microplastics among the highest reported globally. In 2016, the KLB Board of Directors committed to making environmental education a greater priority for the organization. 


“Teachers are often role models, as they play an important role in shaping and guiding our kids,” says Robichaux. “If our state’s educators can teach kids to respect their environment and not litter, then a cleaner Louisiana is possible.” 


“This workshop was important because the children are our first line of defense against litter,” says Nanette Egros, Director of Keep East Feliciana Beautiful.It has been my personal experience working with children over the years that they will remind a parent to refrain from littering.” 


This educator workshop was made possible through KLB’s Affiliate Grant Program, which supports Keep America Beautiful Affiliates in Louisiana who are active organizations and have measurable outcomes in their local communities.  


“Keep Louisiana Beautiful believes in the value of funding educational workshops such as this one hosted by Keep East Feliciana Beautiful,” says Susan Russell, Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful. “These trainings help to ensure our educators feel equipped and confident when they teach our children about taking care of the earth. We encourage our affiliates to apply for funding opportunities as they become available to further their reach in their communities.” 


Workshop attendees received a $100 stipend, five continuing education credits, and the Rockey’s Toolbox lesson manual. A sustainable lunch was provided by Egros for attendees to enjoy.