Kentucky – State Program of the Year
Each year, NEED selects a state program that has shown extraordinary growth and success in reaching more teachers than ever before, providing more resources to classroom teachers, and gaining the support of a diverse and engaged groups of partners. In the 2010-2011 school-year, Kentucky NEED Project programming grew exponentially, with thousands of teachers and students trained and provided hands-on energy kits and classroom curriculum.
Kentucky teachers and students have access to teacher training across the state and to the support of regional energy education coordinators funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence and through the support of Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric. Each summer, the new program year launches with the Kentucky Energy Tour – a weeklong working field trip to teachers that winds through the Commonwealth and visits energy facilities like the of the Laurel Ridge Landfill Gas facility, Buffalo Mountain wind farm, Watts Bar Nuclear plant, the Kentucky Mining Museum and Portal 31 and the Little Creek Reclamation site as well as many others.
The partnership between The Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence has spurred the growth of high performance schools and a deep commitment to reducing energy consumption in Kentucky’s schools. The Kentucky NEED School Energy Team approach has delivered strong results – with students, parents, and administrators working together to run their school buildings more efficiently while increasing the teaching and learning about energy in the classroom.
The success of NEED programs in Kentucky illustrates the impact of energy education when many partners come together to teach about energy and to provide educators with the materials needed in the classroom. In 2011-2012, even more energy education opportunities are planned for teachers and students in the Commonwealth. To recognize the hard work of NEED’s Kentucky team, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection presented the 2010 Community Luminary Award at the Governor’s Conference on the Environment. Kentucky’s programs are strong because of the extraordinary investment made in the teaching and learning about energy – in the classroom and throughout the school building.
The strength of Kentucky NEED, and NEED programs nationwide is well illustrated by Sierra Waechter’s statement in her senior project outlining her education and career goals in Environmental Resource Management: “Making a Difference: I became involved with environmental projects when I was chosen to become a part of the first NEED team at Twenhofel Middle School in Kenton County when I was in 6th grade. I was able to be a part of bringing something so new to our school district that I wanted to do the same thing professionally. The work that I did with NEED is what got me involved with the people that made me passionate about helping the environment.” Sierra’s mother Mary Waechter is an active teacher in NEED programs and played a pivotal role in taking NEED programming district-wide in Kenton County. Today, thanks to the hard work of teachers, students, administrators, parents, and school district energy staff, Kenton County is a model for school districts interested in making an impact on energy efficiency and energy education. More information can be found at NEED.org
Sponsors and partners: Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI); Louisville Gas & Electric/Kentucky Utilities (LG&E/KU); Duke Energy Kentucky; Kentucky Power/AEP; ConocoPhillips; U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program; Kentucky Energy Efficiency for Schools Program (KEEPS); Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools Program; Kentucky School Board Association School Energy Manager Project (KSBA/SEMP); Kentucky School Plant Manager Association (KSPMA); Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition (KCFC); Sanders & Associates