When Boyd County joined the Fifth Congressional District, it also gained access to PRIDE — an environmental initiative that has become a way of life in southern and eastern Kentucky over the past 15 years.
As of Jan. 1, Boyd County is now served by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., which is the nonprofit organization that coordinates the PRIDE initiative. Carter County, Elliott County and Lincoln County also joined the Fifth Congressional District, bringing the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE service area up from 38 counties to 42 counties.
The other 38 counties in the service area are: Adair, Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Floyd, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.
“PRIDE stands for ‘Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment,’ and our mission is to assist communities that want to improve water quality, clean up litter and other solid waste problems, and educate about good stewardship,” said PRIDE’s Tammie Wilson. “PRIDE is important for making our region healthy and enjoyable for us, as well as attractive to tourists, businesses and retirees.”
PRIDE was founded in 1997 by Congressman Hal Rogers and the late Gen. James Bickford, who was Kentucky’s Environmental Protection Secretary. Their vision was to encourage and equip citizens and local officials to restore the natural beauty of southern and eastern Kentucky.
“PRIDE volunteers have transformed the landscape of southern and eastern Kentucky and I’m excited that the four new counties in the Fifth Congressional District will become a part of this successful program,” said Rogers. “Every April, upwards of 33,000 volunteers walk the roadsides and banks to clean up our hillsides, lakes and streams. In addition to environmental cleanup and education, our students have taken PRIDE to a whole new level by developing creative energy-saving projects, saving their schools thousands of dollars each year.”
Teachers have used PRIDE funds to lead more than 655,000 students in hands-on environmental education projects. Also, 2,875 illegal dumps have been removed from hills and creeks with PRIDE’s help.
PRIDE assists communities to organize cleanup events for volunteers. It also provides speakers and educational materials on stewardship topics, such as recycling and energy conservation. PRIDE supports educators by offering PRIDE Clubs and PRIDE Environmental Education Liaisons.
PRIDE Spring Cleanup Month in April will be the inaugural PRIDE event in the newest counties in the service area. PRIDE already has contacted the four counties’ mayors and judge-executives to begin planning the month-long campaign to mobilize volunteers to clean roadsides and waterways. The Spring Cleanup is a popular tradition in the PRIDE service area with an average of 25,000 volunteers annually.
For more information, call (888)577-4339.