SOMERSET — Eastern Kentucky PRIDE announced today that it has awarded $32,253 for environmental education projects in its service area during the 2015/16 school year.
The funding was awarded through the PRIDE Environmental Education Grant Program. The program was funded in part by a grant to PRIDE from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK).
PRIDE awarded the grants in February and last October to schools that applied for the grant program across 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. (For a list of grant recipients, please scroll down.)
The grants can be used for a variety of educational activities that help students appreciate and care for the environment and to serve their community.
One example is the Trout in the Classroom Project at Paintsville High School. Under the direction of science teacher Hans Doderer, Paintsville High School students raised rainbow trout from eggs into fingerlings and then released the young rainbow trout into nearby (approved) waters. They will produce a documentary about their work and collect oral histories about local water quality issues.
The interdisciplinary project involves ecology, biology, chemistry, history and art students. The goal is to develop their environmental literacy, as well as a deeper appreciation for the environment, water resources and water quality in Eastern Kentucky.
PHS used a $500 PRIDE grant toward the project, which was also funded by Kentucky Association for Environmental Education, and Appalachian Renaissance Initiative-Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative.
“I want to congratulate the grant recipients and thank the educators who are leading these projects,” said PRIDE’s Tammie Wilson.
“Our region is blessed with incredible natural resources, so it is important that every generation learns how to be good stewards,” Wilson said. “PRIDE has been working in the schools for almost 20 years now, and we hear so many stories of children who changed their families’ habits on litter and recycling. Environmental education is making a difference in our region.”
“Beyond that, hands-on nature projects really help students learn a variety of subjects,” she explained. “The environmental education activities give them a chance to apply what they are learning in math and science and other classes. That means they understand and remember their lessons better.”
Since 1997, PRIDE has awarded 1,533 grants that impacted 745,575 students across the region. Schools have used PRIDE funds for a wide variety of activities, such as starting recycling programs and building outdoor classrooms, nature trails, wetlands and greenhouses.
Promoting environmental education is one the key missions of PRIDE, a nonprofit organization. The other two missions are cleaning up the region’s waterways and removing solid waste problems. Founded in 1997 by Congressman Hal Rogers and the late General James E. Bickford, PRIDE works alongside citizens, teachers and elected officials to improve the region’s environment and quality of life.