MRPC News Release


For immediate release
Dec. 14, 2016

For more information, contact
Jill Hollowell or Tammy Snodgrass at (573) 265-2993

ORSWMD recognizes environmental efforts
Bourbon teacher, state park receive environmental awards

ST. JAMES—The Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) recently honored Bourbon educator Valerie McEuen and the Onondaga Cave State Park at its annual meeting Nov. 29. Each year, Ozark Rivers recognizes individuals and organizations that help the district meet its goal of reducing solid waste by 40 percent through a commitment to recycling and waste reduction.

“As chairman of the ORSWMD, it’s my honor to help recognize the recipients of the awards for Outstanding Achievements in Solid Waste Management,” Chairman Brady Wilson said. “These awardees set an example for others to follow. Whether it be recycling, education or environmental improvement, their grassroots efforts lead to positive changes that benefit the entire region. The annual banquet is the district’s opportunity to thank these individuals and groups for their role in taking care of our natural world.”

As an educator at Bourbon High School, Valerie McEuen has instilled a deep sense of environmental awareness in her students. McEuen consistently engages her students in environmental awareness activities by taking day-long excursions to the local landfill, wastewater treatment center and Rolla Recycling Center. She also facilitates student participation in ORSWMD’s Earth Day art contest, to which her students have continuously submitted award-winning projects. Her students also view related documentaries and create local projects, such as public service announcements or artful interpretations of solid waste challenges. Leo Sanders, presiding commissioner of Crawford County, nominated McEuen for the award of environmental educator.

Receiving the award for facility/solid waste management was Onondaga Cave State Park located in Crawford County on the Meramec River. Park staff has successfully raised awareness and educated the public on a broad spectrum of environmental issues through special events and festivals held at the park. The park and its staff “walk-the-walk” when it comes to sustainability and recycling. They doubled the amount of material recovered for recycling from 3,052 pounds in 2013 to 6,101 pounds in 2015.  The park’s comprehensive sustainability plan includes park operations as well as recycling options for park visitors. Even the gift shop procures “green” products made from recycled or post-consumer materials. MRPC staff nominated Onondaga Cave State Park.

Others honored at the meeting included Earth’s Classroom, a non-profit organization in Rosebud; the Eco-Miners, a student volunteer group from Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla; and the Dixon High School Key Club. 

The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities. MRPC provides administration of the district and assists with a variety of implementation projects.

For more information about ORSWMD or waste reduction and recycling opportunities in the Ozark Rivers area, contact Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC environmental programs manager, at 573-265-2993 or by email at

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website atwww.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at



ORSWMD Chairman Brady Wilson (left) presents an award to Valerie McEuen (right), a teacher at Bourbon High School, at the Nov. 29 Annual Dinner in recognition of her environmental education excellence.


ORSWMD Chairman Brady Wilson (center) presents the award to Onondaga Cave State Park represented by Connie Stephens (left) and Lori Moore (right) at the Nov. 29 Annual Dinner in recognition of the park’s environmental excellence.



ORSWMD Chairman Brady Wilson (3rd from the right) presented awards to Earth’s Classroom Founders Bill Miles (left) and Jody Miles, Onondaga Cave State park represented by Lori Moore and Connie Stephens, Dixon High School Key Club represented by Trisha McCray, Valerie McEuen and the Eco-Miners represented by Jillian Hunt and Joshua Breedlove in recognition of their environmental efforts within the Ozark Rivers region.


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