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Environmental education draws connections to nature, hometown
Elliott County seventh graders learned about interconnection and interdependency in nature and humans' roles in the environment as they spun their own "web of life" with help from staff of the county's University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
The "web of life" was one of the environmental subjects recently taught to the students by Flora Whitley, the family and consumer sciences assistant for environmental education, in preparation for annual state testing. The students learned the survival needs of many plants and animals in nature and the other creatures or organisms that depend on them for survival.
Through environmental education, Whitley hopes to raise awareness and appreciation among residents about the natural, mountainous beauty found in their backyard.
"If children grow up appreciating the natural beauty we have in eastern Kentucky, as adults they will value it more," she said.
Whitley, a certified environmental educator with the Kentucky Environmental Education Council, has offered environmental subjects to teachers to supplement and enrich their classroom lessons since she joined extension in the new position in January.
"The environment is very multidisciplinary," said Gwenda Adkins, Elliott County's family and consumer sciences extension agent. "In addition to science, the environment can be connected to many other subjects including geography, art and dance."
In addition to teaching students, Whitley also teaches educational programming to adults, groups, clubs and organizations. Topics address environmental concerns inside and outside the home and the built environment including everything from air quality to forestry to wildflowers. In addition, she hopes to create partnerships with other environmental organizations in the county.
In the coming weeks, adults in a wildflowers' class will put information they learned into action as they plan to introduce native wildflowers into several businesses' landscapes in Sandy Hook. Also, Whitley is planning a class about forestry management for women woodland owners.
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Writer: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774
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