The League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge has received a $20,000 national grant that will fund an educational project for young adults (30 years or under) on hazardous waste management. The project is titled the Environmental Management Education Initiative Project.
The grant is made possible through the New Mexico Community Foundation’s Community Involvement Fund and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The purpose of the project is to expand the knowledge and understanding of these young people about the environmental management process and remediation actions in the Oak Ridge community.
The project will consist of two educational sub-projects: a Citizen’s Academy and a Rainbow Academy, a press release said.
The Citizen’s Academy will target newer residents to the area, primarily in the young adult category, and will use existing community resources to give the target residents insight into how the environmental management process works, the constraints on decisions that can be made, and how and when stakeholder inputs must be made to DOE and their contractors. The academy will use presentations, learning modules, and roundtable discussions to provide information on the Oak Ridge Reservation site history; the current environmental management process for identifying and remediating hazardous waste; and the process for public input. The academy will offer site visits and other activities to directly involve participants in collecting information and making assessments, the release said.
The Rainbow Academy will be an environmental day (or days) for students. It will be an addition to the curriculum of the well-established Rainbow Camp, which has been run by the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC) since 1988. The camp targets K-12 youth with an emphasis on reaching members of the minority community. The objectives of the environmental day(s) at Rainbow Camp will be the same as those of the Citizen’s Academy, but with age-appropriate materials.
The educational curriculum for both academies will be developed using terminology geared to a broad general audience, the press release said. Three modes of the learning process—hearing, reading, doing—will be used through the use of guest speakers, video presentations, printed materials, field trip, and other hands-on learning activities.
The project director will be Jan Lyons, an officer with the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board with experience in program planning for the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP), integrated risk management, and community outreach.
Project partners will include experts from TCWP, ORUUC, and within LWVOR. The LWVOR liaison to the project will be Peter Scheffler. Liaisons among team partners will be Sandra Goss, executive director of TCWP, and the Rev. Tandy Scheffler, minister of faith formation at ORUUC and director of the ORUUC Rainbow Camp.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization for men and women that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.