Green Ink Community Engagement and Service Learning

The Green Ink program includes service learning projects, community education and advocacy activities for our students. Our students chose the name to reflect their goal of leaving a green impression on their community. With coordination from the Green Works staff, our current students and alumni represent their community at planning meetings, undertake larger service projects, and share what they have learned about the environment with their friends and neighbors. Our larger projects include:

Shake Up Recycling with Eco Elvis
Several years ago our students teamed up with Kansas City’s own Eco Elvis to visit community organizations, educate residents about the city’s recycling program, and distribute recycling kits with bins, reusable water bottles and shopping bags. Eco Elvis sang and the students talked about their recycling efforts at home and then distributed over 200 kits. At all the events, people stayed behind to talk to the students and were excited to find out that many were from their neighborhoods. 

WaterWorks! – water conservation

As part of EnergyWorks KC our students assisted Bridging the Gap with WaterWorks! Our students co-hosted nine community events, presenting 5 Blue Things and Our Water is in Jeopardy, a game that the students developed and fabricated. Students distribute over 200 water saving kits and copies of our native plant book. With our board members and volunteers they helped community members build 25 rain barrels and plant two rain gardens.

The Oxbow on Brush Creek – habitat restoration
Our students are involved in a habitat restoration project at the oxbow on Brush Creek. Students, volunteers and partners have planted over 3,000 native plants and shrubs on the creek and 35 native trees and removed nearly 2 acres of invasive honeysuckle. They have installed bird and bat houses, signage and conducted clean-ups, water quality testing and assisted with bird counts and banding. The city recently completed an extension of the hiking and biking trail that now takes visitors past the oxbow. Funding for the oxbow project came from an EPA 5-Star grant and a TogetherGreen Innovation grant, from The National Audubon Society and Toyota. The Kansas City Star covered one of our early planting events in the spring of 2011.

Videos – community education
For the past two years our students have worked with KCMO Water Services and Parks & Recreation to write and help produce videos for use at community events. The first video is about preventing water pollution and the second highlights the new recycling program at the community centers.

Bill Grotts“I was able to talk to a couple of the students a little more in depth as we hauled mulch and was impressed by their enthusiasm and curiosity about trees and other growing things.  It was so great to hear them spontaneously talk about other things that could be done–like pulling the outrageous amounts of floating trash out of the creek.” Bill Grotts, The Shade Tree Fund of Greater Kansas City

“We are role models and activists, standing up for the environment.  We care for the environment through our everyday actions and by leading projects to improve the environment.  We influence our friends, family and our community by sharing what we have learned.  We represent our community at planning meetings and advocate for the rights for all of us to enjoy a clean environment.” – Green Ink students