Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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Laurel County students enjoy 4-H Eco EDventures

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

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

For its 4-H Eco EDventures program, the Laurel County Extension Service has earned southern and eastern Kentucky’s PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award.

“Students had fun while they learned about the environment, so those memories will stick with them,” said PRIDE’s Jennifer Johnson, who taught at the event and later presented the PRIDE award to the extension service.

“This program motivates students to care about the environment and gives them the knowledge they need to make wise choices, so we at PRIDE want to hold it up as a model for other communities,” Johnson explained.

“I want to thank Kim Whitson for her vision in creating this event over five years ago, and I commend Kim, her colleagues at the extension service and all the partners who worked together to make this event so successful,” Johnson added.

“This event is so important because youth are able to experience nature and the environment first hand,” said Whitson, who is the Laurel County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development.

“Teachers and schools participate in the program because of the experiential learning that appeals to every learning style,” Whitson said. “Youth learned about renewable and nonrenewable resources at every station and many key terms and definitions were repeated throughout the day.”

“I would like to thank all of the presenters from different agencies who attended and taught, UK Cooperative Extension agents and staff, and all the schools who chose to participate,” Whitson added.

Whitson shared the following comments by students about the event: “This is the coolest field trip ever;” “I learned about recycling and how important it is;” “Bees are really cool and I didn’t know how important they were to the environment;” “I am going to start recycling at home;” “Trees have lots of uses;” and “I got to fish for the first time and loved it.”

The 4-H Eco EDventures program was held over four days in late August and early September at the JM Feltner 4-H Camp. The participants were 610 students from the following schools: Campground Elementary, East Bernstadt Elementary, Cold Hill Elementary, Johnson Elementary, Keavy Elementary, Sublimity Elementary, South Laurel Middle School and South Laurel High School.

Students spent an entire school day at the event. They learned why and how to choose fuel-efficient vehicles, how pollution impacts Kentucky’s fish, why and how to prevent forest fires, how energy flows from the sun to earth for various uses, how to recycle, how bees and beekeepers benefit the environment, why Kentucky wood products are important in daily life, and why and how to use Kentucky furbearers wisely as a renewable natural resource.

The lessons were presented by the Kentucky Department of Air Quality, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky NEED Project, PRIDE, Southeastern Kentucky Beekeepers Association, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture (Forestry), Bell County Extension Service and Laurel County Extension Service.

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


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