Two new AmeriCorps members, Lori McCurdy and Steve Riesenberg, are joining CCUA as full-time staff members as a result of a merger of programs housed at CCUA and the Columbia Outdoor Classroom Project. With our new staff, CCUA is rolling out a new Outdoor Classroom Program, which will serve ten local schools this fall and will broaden the usage of the Urban Farm’s Teaching Garden. This program has developed through a partnership with the Missouri River Communities Network and Missouri AmeriCorps and CCUA’s merger with the Columbia Outdoor Classroom Project.
McCurdy, formerly of the Columbia Outdoor Classroom Project, is also familiar with CCUA, having worked part-time on the edible landscaping team previously; she will serve as the Outdoor Classroom Manager, helping schools and agencies plan their location’s outdoor learning space. Riesenberg will serve as the Outdoor Classroom Outreach Associate, assisting with the Outdoor Classroom Program, and also implementing Slow Food’s “Harvest of the Month” lessons in the schools.
Both of our new staff members will be part of the organization’s education department. The expansion is facilitated by the Local Food AmeriCorps Project, which is managed by the Missouri River Communities Network and funded, in part, by the Russell Family Trust and Slow Food Katy Trail. McCurdy and Riesenberg will join the Education and Volunteer Coordinator Heather Gillich and Urban Farm Educator VISTA Kelsey Grant on CCUA’s education team.
The CCUA’s Outdoor Classroom Program will help schools and agencies provide outdoor learning space at their location. CCUA staff will empower leaders to develop a vision, collect resources, and work to promote using the Outdoor Classrooms in school learning curricula. While the program won’t be accepting new applications from schools and agencies until January 2015, we encourage interested educators to bookmark the program’s webpage (currently under construction) and contact us (573.514.4174 or Education@ColumbiaUrbanAg.org) with any questions.