I Became an Edu-Tainer

By Stan Slaughter

Even while I was finishing my degree at Rockhurst, I started teaching in public schools part time. I taught general science, the fundamentals of how the world works. I felt the magic in the construction of the periodic table of elements. Helping high school freshmen prepare for the wave of technological innovation coming their way was a challenge, but a noble one, I felt.

After a decade, I left public school with a passionate desire to educate about our environment in new ways. I felt that the biggest legacy we leave is the influence we have on the body of ideas the culture holds. When public attention turned to waste reduction and recycling, grant funding became available to take programs to schools.

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I wrote the first grant to bring composting programs to the Kansas City area in 1991. I soon incorporated the guitar music I’d learned in a band from my Rockhurst days and The Eco-Troubadour Road Show was born. The job entailed a delicious mix of writing songs and grants, recording studios and school assembly performances. I was pleasantly obliged to attend the best conferences on the environment and to network with others in my field nationwide. The topics I taught included recycling, composting, household hazardous waste, and water quality. Songs that accompanied programs became a unique series of CD’s. I produced posters, card games, and other materials to accompany the programs. Concert performances at environmental festivals followed. I was an edu-tainer! Teaching our connection to the natural world has been a thrill. Countless times I’ve led children in singing simple anthems that affirm our need to “take good care of our little blue ball.” Every time I give thanks that I’ve chosen this path of service.

Stan Slaughter is a graduate of Rockhurst College (now University), class of 1969. He has been an entertainer, producing music that celebrates the Earth and its beauty and bounty. (For more information, see his website with blog posts, videos, and more.