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Laurel Co. Extension hosts 4-H Eco Ed-venture for 738 students

Laurel County 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent Kim Whitson accepted the PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award from PRIDE’s Mark Davis.

Laurel County 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent Kim Whitson accepted the PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award from PRIDE’s Mark Davis.

The Laurel County Extension Service treated 738 students in grades 4-7 to a 4-H Eco EDventures Day, which was named the region’s PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month for September 2012.

From Aug. 28 until Aug. 31, teachers brought 28 classes to the JM Feltner 4-H Camp to spend one day at Eco EDventures. The schools that participated were South Laurel Middle School, East Bernstadt Independent School, and Campground, Cold Hill, Johnson, Keavy, and Sublimity Elementary Schools.

Students rotated among educational stations focused on different environmental topics, including Firewise (how to protect your home and community from wildfire), Wood Magic (the value of Kentucky’s trees and wood products), recycling relay race, making and using rain barrels, Kentucky fish and how pollution impacts them, why and how to prevent soil erosion, and how bees and beekeepers benefit the environment.

The stations were set up and staffed by the following agencies: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Southeastern Kentucky Beekeepers Association, Laurel County Conservation District, PRIDE, University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture (Forestry), and UK Extension Service.

“This day camp provides students the opportunity to experience nature first hand and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life situations,” said Kim Whitson, Laurel County 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, who organized the event. “Every station provides students with information that is directly correlated to core content areas and they are evaluated on the knowledge gained.”

“We offer this event every year, and it’s almost full for next year,” Whitson said. “Many teachers schedule their classes for the next year before they leave.”

Whitson started the 4-H Eco EDventures five years ago to educate students about the environment and motivate them to be more environmentally conscious.

Whitson has heard many positive responses from students who participated, such as “I learned to identify different trees by the types of leaves they have,” “I learned not to use matches outside and rake leaves 30 feet from my house,” and “This is my favorite field trip ever.”

“I would also like to thank the Laurel County 4-H Council for their support of the event,” Whitson said.

“The 4-H camp was an ideal setting to open students’ eyes to Laurel County’s beauty and their responsibility for its care,” said Mark Davis of PRIDE, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup and education in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky.

“I want to commend Kim Whitson and her colleagues at the extension service for organizing such a large, successful event,” Davis added. “They planned well to make sure 700-plus students could enjoy and learn on their special day at the 4-H camp. They also did an excellent job recruiting and coordinating the agencies that presented activities to the students.”

The PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award rewards creative, effective ways of promoting environmental awareness and stewardship.

“We give awards to thank people and to showcase the great things going on in our region, so please contact us if you want to nominate a person, school, business or organization that is helping our environment or inspiring others to care for nature,” Davis added. “Our toll-free number is 888-577-4339, or you can contact us through our web site.”

To nominate for the PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award or the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award, please click here.

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