Starting in 1995, the Black Hawk County Solid Waste Management Commission (BHCSWMC) and the Black Hawk County Conservation Board partnered to create the Waste Trac Education Team. The goal of the Waste Trac Education Team is to provide free waste reduction education to residents in Black Hawk County. The Waste Trac Education Team offers free educational programs to youth, adults, and the general public about various topics such as recycling, composting, and sustainability. The team also informs the community about properly disposing household toxins, building materials, old electronics, yard waste, and much more.
The Waste Trac Education Team consists of Tammy Turner and Lyndsey Anderson who work as Waste Reduction Educators. In 2020, the BHCSWMC partnered with Green Iowa AmeriCorps (GIA) to become a host site for GIA Sustainable Schools members. Site Supervisor and Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Administrator for BHCSWMC, John Foster, saw many benefits for partnering with GIA. John believes there is an opportunity to expand solid waste education efforts through this partnership, as well as provide professional growth for people with a passion for community and environmental improvement.
Together, the Waste Trac Education Team and GIA members work to help make schools more sustainable. This year, the BHCSWMC has two full-time GIA members serving on their team: Liz Stange (left), a current full-time student at Wartburg College from Northwest Central Iowa, and Erin Richardson (right), a Southwest Minnesotan and Environmental Science graduate. Liz chooses to serve because she is passionate about environmentalism and changing education for the better of the planet. Erin chooses to serve because she wants to find ways to engage with her community about environmental sustainability.
The Waste Trac Education Team loves to provide recycling and sustainability education in exciting, fun ways. Examples of the teams’ education events include a puppet show about vermicomposting, the Practical Backyard Tour showcasing sustainable yards around the community, and making up-cycled crafts. Projects that the Green Iowa AmeriCorps Sustainable Schools members hope to complete include a water bottle greenhouse, a butterfly garden, a “live” wall, and organized litter clean ups. The main goals for this partnership are to become more involved with the Waterloo School District,to help implement some of these project ideas, and to help make Waterloo schools more sustainable!
Interested in seeing more about their projects? Check out these videos:
West High: https://youtu.be/yDqdzCb8lT0
Orange Elementary: https://youtu.be/SuCcJ1k3kR0