Patrick Marsh Middle School teacher Angela Rivera was one of 30 educators and community leaders in the nation to be selected to receive a fellowship from The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).
Each fellow is focused on the environmental and social issues that are most relevant to their
work. They are committed to using education to build knowledge and skills to create more resilient communities.
As a part of her fellowship, Ms. Rivera will be creating and executing a community action project that focuses on the sustainability issue of food waste. Ms. Rivera is planning on having her social studies and science students play a large role in this project. Specifically, they will be collecting both qualitative and quantitative data regarding food waste in the Patrick Marsh Middle School cafeteria. They then will critically think about ways they can encourage their peers to reduce their food waste and figure out ways that they can redirect wasted food to people in the Sun Prairie community who need it.
“We are looking into creating food share tables in our district’s cafeterias, which is a place where students can put pre-packaged foods they did not eat or want. That way, students who are hungry or in need can have these food items,” said Rivera. “I am also looking into the possibility of donating these food items to community school’s food pantries in the district.”
When asked about why she chose to focus her project on sustainability, Rivera said, “It is a way to take action in our own community while connecting people, place, and the environment. It is something that I have always been passionate about, which even led me to obtain my master’s degree in Environmental Conversation from UW-Madison. Ultimately, I believe this project will create a lasting change in our student’s lives and our community.”
“As a district, we take pride in the fact that we provide our students with engaging learning experiences that relate to real issues in our world. I am impressed by Ms. Rivera’s commitment to the issue of sustainability, and her ability to share that passion with our students,” said Stephanie Leonard-Witte, Sun Prairie Area School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and Equity.
Patrick Marsh Middle School students and Rivera will begin this project in October 2021. Ms. Rivera received a $1,000 grant from World Wildlife Fund for this project and will receive professional guidance from NAAEE over the course of her project.