MORROW COUNTY- Local educators Lindsey Grimm (Morrow County Recycling/Keep Morrow County Beautiful) and Candace Heer (OSU Extension Morrow County) have been active members of The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Sustainability Team since its conception in early 2020. The State Sustainability team was stimulated out of an Ohio State University professional’s survey that indicated that food waste and single-use plastic pollution were the most important sustainability-related topics of concern in their communities.

Sustainability Team Members worked collaboratively to develop a variety of materials, tools and resources designed to educate adults and youth about food waste and plastic pollution; help adults and youth identify small behavior changes that can be sustained as eventual habits and equip Extension educators with training tools and resources to accomplish these goals. The teams efforts, gained national recognition on September 15, 2022, when the team earned the Environmental Education Award, presented by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS). The Environmental Education Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted by an individual or team who has been involved in educating families and/or communities on various environmental issues/concerns including water quality, air quality, recycling, and/or natural resource conservation. The NEAFCS awards were presented this year at the NEAFCS Annual Session held in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team was also recognized as the First Place Central Region Award winner and was invited to present a Showcase of Excellence (Poster Presentation) during the NEAFCS Annual Session.

Here is a short list of some of the Sustainability Tools and Resources developed.

• A series of three-minute videos called Sustainable Action through Video Engagement (SAVE) that address topics such as sustainability in the kitchen, cutting back on single-use plastics, dishwasher sustainability, composting, sustainable deicing, sustainable holiday ideas, reducing food waste, hiking and sustainability, and sustainable summer tips.

• A 4-H idea starter has been developed to promote awareness of waste and help 4-H members identify ways that they can reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose. The plan is to expand this into a project book.

• A series of tip sheets on reducing single-use plastics, food waste, and other topics that can be distributed during programs and fairs.

• A 3-D virtual reality home tour that teaches people about various sustainable practices for each room of the house.

• A sustainable meeting guide to help businesses, organizations, and community groups host sustainable meetings and conferences.

• Two webinars that trained Extension professionals on how and when to use these materials.

The Sustainability Team Members include: Family and Consumer Sciences, Associate Professor and Field Specialist Dan Remley (Ohio State University – South Centers, Piketon); Family and Consumer Sciences, Extension Educators: Alisha Barton (Miami County), Marie Economos (Mahoning County), Candace J. Heer (Morrow County), Laura Stanton (Warren County) and Community Partner Lindsey Grimm, Morrow County Recycling/Keep Morrow County Beautiful Program Director (Morrow County) ), Jon Gladden (State Office), Andrew Holden (Ashtabula County), Susan Zies (Wood County), Marie Economos (Mahoning County), Brian Roe (Associate Chair & OSU Professor), Audrey Dimmerling (Columbiana County), Beth Bollas (Lake County), Myra Moss (Muskingum County), Richard Wofford (State Office), Anna Adams (South Centers), Sarah Swanson (South Centers).

Lindsey Grimm and Candace Heer. Grimm and Candace Heer.