Local students will get first-hand experience in good stewardship this school year, thanks to PRIDE Environmental Education Grants.
In Taylor County, 440 students will benefit from two grants totaling $7,160.
Campbellsville Middle School received a $4,300 grant to enhance an outdoor classroom, which will benefit 340 students this year.
Campbellsville Child Development Center will benefit 100 students by using a $2,860 grant to enhance an outdoor classroom and buy educational materials, such as books and multimedia resources.
Across the region, PRIDE awarded 49 grants totaling $207,413 to schools and nonprofit organizations for hands-on learning projects that will benefit 20,172 students. Grant recipients who start service-oriented PRIDE Clubs will receive a $500 bonus, bringing PRIDE's potential investment in environmental education to more than $230,000 this year.
"I want to congratulate our grant recipients, as well as thank them for going the extra mile for their students," said Jennifer Johnson, PRIDE education director.
"These students and educators put much time, hard work and creativity into these grant projects. The educators know it's important to offer fun, hands-on environmental lessons that will last a life time."
"With this year's grant awards, the number of students influenced by PRIDE grants will exceed 500,000," said Karen Engle, PRIDE president and chief executive officer.
"That is an impressive milestone to surpass just as PRIDE is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It's exciting to imagine how these students will change our environment for the better since they have grown up learning why and how to care for nature."
PRIDE has awarded 837 Environmental Education Grants totaling $3,561,305 since 1998. The grants have benefited 506,564 students over the past 10 years, according to the estimates reported by grant applicants. The grants have been used to start 35 school-wide recycling projects and build 351 outdoor classrooms, 105 greenhouses and 45 wetlands.
The PRIDE Environmental Education Grant program awards up to $5,000 annually to schools and nonprofit organizations. The grants support projects that help young people understand the importance of a clean environment, personal responsibility and community pride. Grant recipients must match the grants with monetary or in-kind contributions worth 25 percent of the grant amount.
Promoting environmental education is the mission of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, a nonprofit organization that serves 38 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky. PRIDE also encourages and assists communities to improve water quality and clean up solid waste problems. PRIDE, which is funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was founded in 1997 by Congressman Hal Rogers and Kentucky Environmental Protection Secretary James Bickford.
For more information, call the PRIDE office, toll free, at (888) 577-4339 or visit www.kypride.org.