Environmental Learning Center

Metro Waste Authority's Environmental Learning Center

Are you a teacher who wants to take their environmental education lessons to the next level? Check out Metro Waste Authority’s Environmental Learning Center!

About the Facility

Reserve Facility

Metro Waste Authority converted a farm property, located on the southeast corner of Metro Park East Landfill into a learning center for environmental education. In addition to the converted house, the property is home to 500 acres of restored prairie, wetland and forest. Through a partnership with SE Polk School District and Drake University, this location hosts learning opportunities for teachers.

The property is free to reserve for school districts and homeschool groups in our service area.

  • Ankeny
  • Bondurant-Farrar
  • Carlisle
  • Dallas-Center Grimes
  • Des Moines
  • Johnston
  • North Polk      
  • Norwalk
  • Saydel
  • Southeast Polk
  • Urbandale
  • Waukee
  • West Des Moines

Learn More! Take a Professional Development Course!

The Environmental Education Summer Workshop for Teachers is designed to expose you to a wide range of experiences connecting the natural history of Iowa’s plants and animals to problem-based learning exercises you can deploy in the classroom to address the standards of the NGSS.

This workshop is organized around two central themes: understanding how plants and animals interact within native Iowa ecosystems (woodlands, wetlands, and prairies) and understanding how adaptations in animals and plants link species together in food webs.  Each day you will explore a particular ecosystem or sub-part of an ecosystem at the Metro Park East Ecology Learning Center and Field Station. 

Mornings will involve hands-on instruction by Drake University's Environmental Science Professor Keith Summerville and two of his assistants.  Afternoons will involve individual and group work on Unit Designs that connect the material learned in the morning sessions with outdoor or hybrid (outdoor/indoor) activities that connect to the NGSS.  At the end of the week, the lesson plans are compiled, collated and distributed to all participants in the classroom to provide to colleagues and use during the year.

West Side Location (Clive Aquatic Center)

Activity Title: Environmental Education Workshop for Teachers: What's in Your Watershed

Activity Number: ST003799991901

Sessions: TBD

East Side Location (MWA's Environmental Learning Center)

Activity Title: Environmental Ed. Workshop for Teachers: Problem-Based & Service Learning

Activity Number: ST003699991901

Sessions: TBD