Making a Change Through Nature: Science teacher helps students learn to value the environment


Mary-Kathryn Wert

Plants from the school garden that the Nature Club plans to improve in the spring.

A'myrah Cheadle, Staff Writer

From learning about how to improve the environment – to just having appreciation for nature, a new club is added this year to help students know more about their surroundings. The Nature Club is helping students have more of a connection with nature and think more about the negative and positive effects on the environment.

Science teacher Angela Lueckenotto started the nature club after noticing how distant kids are with nature. She wants kids to get involved with their surroundings and value the outdoors. 

“I felt like there was a need for kids to have a connection with nature,” Lueckenotto said.

For students to take care of their environment to help make a positive impact on our world, Lueckenotto said the school needed a club where kids can learn to be better citizens.

“I hope they will become more aware and informed citizens and take care of their environment better,” Lueckenotto said.“So, not throwing plastic bottles in the trash, not buying packaged food and [knowing] how to grow a plant.” 

Lueckenotto got her graduate degree from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri where she learned how to help people have a connection with nature. She did projects that helped her acquire knowledge on how to teach others the values of the environment. 

“My graduate thesis project I did was I studied people who are in science careers and what led them to study science and then did they have more sort of eco responsibility than people who are in business,” Lueckenotto said. 

Through this club, Lueckenotto is excited about being able to help students expand their knowledge or just start to learn how to take care of a garden and various types of plants

“I’m very excited about teaching kids about how to take care of plants and learning how to garden and learning about trees that are in the neighborhood,” Lueckenotto said. “So, we will take nature walks and learn what the trees are around Miege.”

For this year the club has many projects that they want to accomplish in and outside of school. Many projects include helping students know about the many different plants and hiking trails around Kansas City. 

“We are going to work on campus beautification, recycling awareness, and reducing the carbon footprint of the school,” Lueckenotto said. “In addition, in the spring we’re going on nature hikes and exploring the nature options that kids have in the KC metro area.” 

This spring, the club plans to improve the school garden with the help of a grant from Lueckenotto’s aunt’s foundation. The foundation “Save”, gives grants to people and organizations to do projects that help better people’s lives through nature.

“Working on the school garden – we are going to be doing a bunch of stuff with that this spring,” Lueckenotto said. “I got a grant from my aunt’s foundation and we are going to plant native prairie flowers to attract pollinators.” 

According to Mrs. Lueckenotto, technology is such a big part of our world that people miss out on actually enjoying the nature around us. 

“I think people now have nature blindness,” Lueckenotto said. “We’re so into technology; we just don’t even notice the stuff around us.”

As the school year continues, she hopes to have her students gain more of a connection with wanting to help improve the negative effects that are done to the environment. 

“Graduate school when I got my masters degree, it was about this: trying to get people connected with nature and getting off their phones and computers, because if you have a connection with something, you care about it and if you care about it, you take care of it,” Lueckenotto said.