Washoe waste warriors

New curriculum to teach reducing, reusing and recycling

Erin Dawson, fourth grade teacher at Dodson Elementary School, plans to use the Waste Warriors curriculum with her students.

Erin Dawson, fourth grade teacher at Dodson Elementary School, plans to use the Waste Warriors curriculum with her students.


For more information about Waste Warriors, visit ktmb.org/waste-warriors.

Students in Washoe County will now have the opportunity to learn about waste reduction and keeping the community clean via the newly developed Waste Warriors curriculum.

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) has done Waste Warriors presentations for years now, taking it over from the “Trash Lady,” Beth Isaeff. KTMB would do presentations for various classes, after school programs and other groups talking mainly about the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle. The presentations became too popular though, making it difficult to keep up with the demand, but in 2012, Waste Management gave the organization a grant to put the presentation onto video. KTMB decided to build five lesson plans to go along with it: Waste Warriors, Tracking our Trash, School Litter Survey, Plastic Bag Bans and Trash Travels.

The curriculum will be available to anyone who wants to use it, and there will be training on it next month for teachers as well. KTMB and Washoe County School District have high hopes for the program.

“We hope that it will let kids know that they have the tools that can really affect how the Truckee Meadows and the Truckee River are taken care of,” KTMB communications manager J Merriman said. “That’s what we really would like the kids to know that there are some problems, but there are things that we can do about it, and the things that we can do about it are really pretty easy. It’s just being aware of the problems and taking action.”

When making this curriculum, KTMB wanted to make sure it would be useful to teachers so they worked closely with the school district. What makes it helpful to teachers is that it matches up perfectly with the new standards the school district has adopted.

“With the advent of the common core state standards and the new science standards … what teachers are asking for are resources that are aligned to the common core state standards,” said Catherine Schmidt, elementary training coordinator for WCSD’s Striving Readers Grant. “We need resources that are more problem-based, relevant. In terms of ELA [English Language Arts], we need materials that are more complex to offer students with reading. …We’re really happy to have it.”

The new standards require more integration of subjects within the classroom and give teachers the opportunity to bring science back into the younger grades. The curriculum is targeted for third to sixth graders and is presented by Reed High School students on the video.

“When we’re talking about STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] on that piece, it’s really about integration,” STEM Coordinator Kelly Barber said. “How can we integrate what they’re doing in science and what they’re doing in ELA? The things they’re learning about in science are the things they should be reading about in ELA. One of the reasons this project is so great is because it takes the things that the kids need to do for the ELA and the reading portion, and it looks at the things that are important in science and building on their knowledge from year to year.”

Schmidt and Barber think this program will help students because it’s local and relevant to their everyday lives, and they think it will help get them involved with their community.