I went to a Georgia Environmental Educators conference today focused on Outdoor Classrooms. What a cool conference! I tagged along with two of my best buddies (they're both nature and garden lovers, too).
I was totally inspired by a couple of the presentations -- one in particular about DiscoverLife.org and the interactions between citizen science, researchers, and people of all ages literally around the world and the other about certifying pollinator habitats (a Monarchs across Georgia initiative). I'd heard about both organizations before, but not about these projects, so I was delighted to learn about them.
But, the highlight of participating in this conference was the focus on having a waste-free conference. Remarkable. From being able to put our banana peels and apple cores in compost buckets, to using washable plates and cutlery in the school cafeteria, and no excess paper conference printing (uh, they actually relied on us to remember which programs we signed up for and print it out, so they sort of cheated), it was quite the most progressively green conference that I've ever been to.
The school where we met was a remarkably green school, too, with interesting gardens, from vegetables to butterfly gardens to a secret native garden/backyard wildlife habitat). Their cafeteria is not only relying on washable plates, but is recycling everything else, including the composting operation for organic waste.
It was an old school, but one has been totally rebuilt recently, and just reopened a year ago. It was impressive, and the classrooms where the sessions met (at least in the sessions I attended) were full of great materials, and interesting connections to the natural world.