greenUP!: Environmental education impact of Green Dining District program

Project title

Environmental Education Impact of Green Dining District Program on Carson City Residents

Research question

Is it possible to come up with a methodology to measure long-term impact of the green dining district activities on Carson City and its residents? Using the model below, can one measure beyond building awareness and knowledge (common) to getting a population engaged in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and taking action towards long-term environmental stewardship?

greenUP! has a pilot running getting restaurants in Carson City to reduce food and other waste. There is a public awareness aspect to the program where we ask the public to reduce straw usage, recycle at Carson City events and consider alternatives to Styrofoam takeout containers. We have received a good deal of media attention so we assume the public knows about the program, but is this knowledge stimulating them to take action and is there a way to measure the process described above?

We’d like a University research intern to come up with a methodology to measure the items on the above continuum that greenUP! will use to measure the impact of the green dining district on 2 audiences:

  • Restaurants
  • Public (Carson City residents)

Background

greenUP!, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that provides Environmental Education for businesses helping Nevada cut down on waste, reduce valuable resource consumption and fight climate change in an environmentally safe and cost-effective manner.

greenUP! received funding from the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) Recycling Program to launch a green dining district in Carson City. A significant piece of this is measuring the reduction in waste of the participating restaurants based upon energy efficiency, recycling and best practices in food handling and disposal.

A University research student completed a project in fall 2019 to measure the stats collected by greenUP! on the reduction of waste and resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. They also researched best practices from other cities.

The student researcher for Fall 2020 would research and recommend a methodology to measure the green dining district progress towards the environmental education continuum. greenUP! would use this methodology to conduct a pre-survey or pre-analysis of the public as a pre- and post-survey would be necessary to determine whether our green dining district project has had any measurable impact on Carson City residents behavior.

Deliverables

A recommended methodology to measure long-term impact of the green dining districts environmental impact on Carson City. If there is time, the student researcher would conduct the first survey. If not, we would do this another semester. Coming up with a credible methodology is the important part of this project.

Suggested skills

If possible, I would like an undergraduate student that is studying Environmental Science. They should have some experience with research projects (i.e., know how to write and implement a survey, tabulate and analyze data). We also seek a hands on person with a desire to make an impact in our community and to help preserve the planet. They should be proficient in the basic suite of Microsoft tools: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, have a good handle on social media and be good interacting with people. This should include the desirable field of study for student applicants or training/experiences that would be a benefit to the project.

Agency representative

Donna Walden
donna.walden@me.com
(949) 306-3465