EKU Receives Three Environmental Grants from Bluegrass PRIDE

Bluegrass PRIDE presentation photo

Three environmental projects at Eastern Kentucky University, valued at approximately $15,000, have received funding from Bluegrass PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment).

The three were among 18 education and educator workshop grants announced Monday, Aug. 23, by Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler at a news conference at EKU’s Van Peursem Amphitheatre in the University’s Ravine.

Dr. David Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences, accepted a $9,960 grant to help fund the construction of an outdoor classroom to be known as the EKU Ecological Restoration Area in the southeastern corner of the Richmond campus. The area will be composed of approximately 20 acres of pasture, small woodlots, fencerows and a dry gully leading to a small stream. Within the year, it is expected that four phases of restoration will be complete: eradication of invasive shrub bush honeysuckle, reestablishment of native trees and shrubs in areas previously overgrown with honeysuckle, construction of several wetlands, and the establishment of beehives. Major applications will include class service learning projects, independent student research and faculty research in disciplines such as biology, wildlife management, parks and recreation, environmental science, and art.

Nickole Hale, associate director for educational initiatives with University Housing, accepted $3,000 to fund a recycling campaign that will include the placement of recycling receptacles on every floor of EKU’s 14 residence halls, the addition of steel and glass to recycled materials, and a multifaceted recycling and sustainability education campaign.

The third grant, valued at $2,000, will fund an Earth Force Service Learning professional development session for K-12 teachers from throughout Appalachian Regional Commission counties. The 14-hour event will be held at the University’s Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory in Garrard County. William Bennett, director of EKU’s Center for Environmental Education, accepted the grant.

“Not only are our lakes, forests, and rolling hills beautiful, but they enrich our lives, and even help many Kentuckians earn a living,” Congressman Chandler said. “These grants provide opportunities to teach our children how best to take care of and protect the Commonwealth, and environmentally conscious children become environmentally responsible adults.”  

Amy Sohner, executive director of Bluegrass PRIDE, said Bluegrass PRIDE’s mission “has always been to empower Central Kentuckians to improve their environment through education. I have no doubt that the grants we have awarded today will play an integral role in providing high quality environmental education and cultivating environmental stewards in our region.”

Funding for the grants was made possible through an appropriation from Congressman Chandler through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The education and educator workshop grants are designed to further support the promotion and advancement of environmental education and environmental literacy throughout the shared ARC/PRIDE service area.

Bluegrass PRIDE provides resources and education to empower Central Kentuckians to foster positive environmental change in their communities. For more information, visit www.bgPRIDE.org.

PHOTO: From left, Dr. Alice Jones, director of the Eastern Kentucky Environmental Research Institute at EKU; Dr. David Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences at EKU; and Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler.

Published on August 24, 2010