News release, Office of the Governor, Frankfort, April 22, 2013
Kentucky State Government, First Lady Celebrate Earth Day with Educational Exhibits, Schools Recognition Event
Frankfort, Ky. – On the nation’s 43rd annual Earth Day, the Office of the First Lady, the Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Kentucky Environmental Education Council teamed up today to celebrate by highlighting efforts within Kentucky to educate students and citizens about the environment and the value of energy efficiency.
State employees and the public toured the “green” Capitol Education Center in Frankfort; browsed educational booths hosted by numerous state agencies and partners; and recognized schools who focus on energy efficiency.
Originally used as a space to house heating and cooling equipment, the Capitol Education Center has been completely repurposed and “recycled” as a modern learning facility for students and visitors. It is outfitted with a range of interactive and multimedia exhibits to educate visitors about sustainability, geography, tourism and government in Kentucky.
The building also features a “green” design that incorporates solar panels, a wind turbine, recycled denim insulation and a rooftop garden.
“This celebration gave the public an opportunity to learn about state government agencies and the role they play in protecting our environment, as well as showcasing Kentucky schools and districts that have made energy efficiency a priority,” said First Lady Jane Beshear.
Schools and districts honored at the event included:
•The state’s 200th ENERGY STAR School is Caneyville Elementary in Grayson County. Energy Star designation recognizes schools for their efforts to lower energy costs by improving efficiencies in their buildings. Kenton County Schools and Scott County Schools were honored for being named 2013 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year by the Environmental Protection Agency.
•Kentucky’s 2013 Green Ribbon Schools include Locust Trace Agri-Science Farm in Fayette County; Cane Run Elementary in Jefferson County; and, Northern Elementary in Scott County. The Green Ribbon Schools program of the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) recognizes the highest performing green and healthy schools in the nation.
•Kentucky’s 2013 Green & Healthy Schools (KGHS) include Pikeville High School and West Hardin Middle School. KGHS is a project-based and student-centered program that empowers students and staff to move their school toward becoming safer, healthier, and more environmentally sustainable.
Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters announced the winner of the cabinet’s third annual “Capture the Earth” middle school photography contest. Andrea Flatt, 14, of Cumberland County Middle School, won with her close-up photo of a snail on a leaf. Secretary Peters and Department of Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker presented her a gift card to use at a Kentucky State Resort Park of her choice. You can view Andrea’s photo online at http://eec.ky.gov/Pages/earthday.aspx.
Secretary Peters also presented the Secretary’s Young Environmentalist Award to Ben Swanson, a junior at Fayette County’s Henry Clay High School, for his volunteer work at the Nature Conservancy’s Jim Beam Nature Preserve in Jessamine and Garrard counties.
“It is a joy to honor and encourage our state’s youth in all of their environmental stewardship efforts,” said Secretary Peters. “Andrea and Ben demonstrate two of the many ways to be stewards of our environment, whether it is working hard to build trails on a nature preserve or capturing nature through the lens of a camera for others to enjoy.”
Other displays at the Earth Day event included the University of Kentucky’s solar-powered car and the Division for Air Quality’s new Chevy Volts.
Agencies represented included:
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
Division for Air Quality
Division of Forestry
Division of Water
Division of Waste Management
Kentucky Environmental Education Council/Green & Healthy Schools Initiative
Kentucky National Energy Education Development Project
Governor's Office on Agriculture Policy/Governor's Garden
Kentucky Housing Corp./Ky. Home Performance
Kentucky School Boards Association
Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund
Kentucky Department of Parks
Kentucky Adventure Tourism
Division of Compliance Assistance
Department of Energy Development and Independence
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ Salato Wildlife Education Center
Photo: Students from Northern Elementary School in Scott County, along with Supt. Patricia Putty and other staff members, accept their 2013 Green Ribbon Schools from First Lady Jane Beshear during Earth Day ceremonies Monday in Frankfort.