Partners in Education
SWACO partnered with Audubon, Ohio by providing grant dollars to assist in the sustainable construction through the use of recycled-content building materials of the Grange Insurance Audubon Center (GIAC) located on the Whittier Penninsula. The GIAC opened August 28, 2009 and serves as destination nature center for urban populations, local residents and, visitors to Central Ohio. It is a real-world demonstration of the benefits of sustainable design and construction, minimalist architecture, resource conservation, energy efficiency, and land reclamation. Not to mention, it serves as a beautiful urban oasis for birds, wildlife, and humans!
Your house can be a GreenSpot! Residents have a unique role to play in making our community a greener place and their commitment can be acknowledged through the GreenSpot program. It's easy. Visit the GreenSpot website, click the Join tab, register as a community group and submit your commitments through the online application.
Your classroom can be a GreenSpot! If you are looking for ideas check out GreenSpot Kids for lesson plans, tools, and information about incorporating sustainability into your curriculum! Just report what three things you will do within the next year to protect our air, soil or water. Once approved, your classroom will receive a GreenSpot decal in recognition of your substantial contribution to our community.
Keep Columbus Beautiful (KCB)
KCB is a City of Columbus community improvement program and a national affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. The mission of KCB is to empower, educate, innovate, and support communities to reduce, reuse, and recycle through community engagement, partnerships, and leadership in sustainability. Click here to learn more about KCB's education opportunities!
'My House' at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
SWACO and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium partnered in the Spring of 2000 in developing the My House experience. The partnership resulted in the Authority's sponsorship of the My House education center, located at the entrance to the North American Region at the Zoo. My House allows visitors to experience interactive exhibits and programs based on North American habitats, human influence and its impact on habitats, and the surrounding environment. In the kitchen visitors learn about proactive and positive steps that we can take in order to have less of an impact on our environment through waste reduction.
Recycled Construction Materials
SWACO assisted the Columbus Zoo in choosing recycled content construction material to incorporate into the My House building. RASTRA® was chosen for wall system construction. The material was manufactured from post-consumer packaging and food service polystyrene. SWACO identified school lunch trays as a prime source of post-consumer polystyrene and worked to launch a temporary school lunch-tray recycling program. Sixty-three Franklin County Schools participated in the temporary lunch tray collection from August 2000 through December 2000. Participating schools (PDF) provided approximately 14% of the polystyrene needed to construct My House.
Post-consumer polystyrene material was ground and mixed with cement to manufacture the prefabricated wall system panels. The lightweight panels were easily stacked and interlocked using an expanding foam glue. Channels were cut into the soft wall panels to allow the installation of electrical wiring. The panels were also cut to accommodate specific window and door openings. The assembled panels create a hollow form which is then reinforced with steel rods and filled with concrete to provide a strong, insulated wall system. Once in place, the polystyrene walls are covered with an exterior siding or stucco finish.
My House provides education and awareness opportunities for potentially 1.3 million Zoo visitors annually. This is an opportunity to provide a positive experience for visitors and to educate the public about how to reduce negative impacts on the environment.
Recycle Right, Make a Difference at COSI
In 2018, SWACO provided grant dollars to help support the creation of 40 new recycle and landfill stations for visitors to use throughout the museum. COSI and SWACO worked closely to develop the messaging and signage at the stations to ensure visitors understand how to Recycle Right. In April 2019, SWACO and COSI unveiled a new recycling education exhibit for families. Four, giant kiosks illustrate how common recyclable materials are broken down for recycling. The display includes life cycles of recycled commodities and show consumer products that are made by recycling them. Computer monitors invite guests to quiz their recycling knowledge and learn how Recycling Right can Make a Difference!
Junior Achievement's (JA) BizTown program provides students with a realistic opportunity to experience how basic economic concepts are applied in the real world. By participating in JA BizTown, students in 4th - 6th grades experience the responsibilities and opportunities of citizenship in a free enterprise system. In BizTown, students operate businesses including retail stores, manufacturing shops, media outlets, a utility service, a restaurant, a bank, and City Hall. All businesses are outfitted with modern office equipment and business supplies. Students learn firsthand what it takes to create and run a business, as well as personally earn and manage money. SWACO is proud to have provided support to Junior Achievement of Central Ohio for their hardwork and dedication to recycling materials and educating students!
The PAST Foundation started as a non-profit organization in 2000 founded by an international Board of Trustees who have devoted volumes of time to seeing that the mission of PAST is achievable. Founded to promote partnerships between anthropologists and educators, PAST successfully initiated and implemented projects throughout the United States and has proposed projects that will take it into the international arena. SWACO is proud to have a long-standing partnership with the PAST Foundation developing the Garbology curriculum, focused on educating sttudents about the importance of waste reduction!
In 2007, The PAST Foundation, SWACO, and Metro High School partnered together to create the Garbology Program. It involved one hundred, 9th grade students representing 16 school districts that attended the Metro High School. Students kicked off the program with a field trip to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill to learn about how central Ohio manages garbage. The field trip provided hands-on learning experience to a semester long initiative in creating a valuable recycling environment at the Metro High School. Students investigated garbage as one of the overarching threads of study and research for a semester.
The hands-on experiential program melded lessons in science, environmental studies, and humanities with current issues facing our students. The PAST/SWACO/Metro High School Garbology Program is a combination of successful existing programs and new delivery tools. Topics covered focused on environmental impact, research and development, and sustainability while considering historical innovations and their impact. Students also had the opportunity to study under the late Dr. William Rathje, world-renowned social Anthropologist, Archaeologist and "Garbologist."
COMING 2022! SWACO awarded The PAST Foudation a grant in the amount of $25,000 for the development of Garbology 2.0. Please check back for more details!
King Arts Complex
SWACO grant dollars helped to develop the Trash to Treasure interactive learning exhibit for students and visitors; support an art exhibition focused on waste reduction and recycled art; and to provide recycled content picnic tables and benches made of recycled plastic milk jugs for the park. Learn more about the King Arts Complex today!