Special to the Daily News
Teachers in the Bell County School District and the Middlesboro Independent School District have an aide in environmental education this year.
PRIDE Environmental Education Liaison Sarah Talley finds hands-on activities that complement teachers’ lesson plans on environmental topics, such as plants and the water cycle.
She visits classrooms to lead the special activities and to discuss how the lessons apply to the environment of southern and eastern Kentucky. Talley also encourages students to find ways to care for the environment, such as volunteering to pick up litter or turning off lights when they leave a room.
From September to December, Talley spent 71 instructional hours in Bell County and Middlesboro Independent classrooms. She worked with a total of 1,717 students.
With a degree in ecology, Talley gained experience in environmental education while working at state and national parks, including Mammoth Cave National Park. She now has a teaching license and enjoys being an environmental educator.
“My greatest satisfaction is watching a passion for the environment ignite in the next generation,” Talley said.
“In 2009, my husband got a job at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, and we moved to the Bell County area,” Talley explained. “I fell in love with the area and was thrilled when I got the opportunity to be an environmental educator for Eastern Kentucky PRIDE.”
Talley’s services are made possible through a partnership between the nonprofit organization Eastern Kentucky PRIDE Inc., Bell County Fiscal Court, Bell County Schools, Middlesboro Board of Education and the Bell County 109 Board.
PRIDE offers liaisons to all schools in its 42 -county service area through its PRIDE Environmental Education Outreach Program. Local partners, such as county and city governments, enroll their schools in the program and pay an annual fee, which is based on student population.
The program goals are to help students prepare for state science tests and develop lifelong environmental stewardship skills.
Liaisons work primarily with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classes, but they also work with all grade levels involved in PRIDE Clubs, which explore environmental issues and perform community service. They tailor lessons to the local environment based on PRIDE’s success with promoting environmental education in the region since 1997.
The PRIDE website is www.kypride.org.