Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 8, 2014

A natural learning environment

Outdoor classroom complete at West Carter Middle

OLIVE HILL — Among the highlights of their sixth-grade year for three members of West Carter Middle School’s science club were building a greenhouse out of pop bottles and constructing a wetlands behind the school.

The two projects were part of the school’s outdoor classroom, and on Thursday the three, who have been stalwart members of the club all through their three years at West Carter, got to show off the classroom to some important state officials.

Representatives of the Kentucky state park system, Eastern Kentucky Pride and the Kentucky Environmental Education Council visited West Carter to mark the completion of the facility and applaud the school’s outdoor education developments. Eighth-graders Triston Ginter, Evan Burton and Ryan James, along with the rest of the science club, were there to show them both facilities.

“Building the greenhouse taught me the importance of the environment,” Ginter said during a ceremony that included the entire school. “I learned how important it is that everything works together,” he said later.

The outdoor classroom was made possible largely through grants from Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, the state environmental protection initiative launched in 1997.

During the ceremony officials toured the recently completed facility. Earlier this year an open pavilion with picnic benches was erected beside the wetlands area, completing the development.

An Eastern Kentucky PRIDE grant — one of two the school received this year — paid for the pavilion. The picnic benches were from Grayson Lake State Resort Park and were donated by the park service.

The two-year project was started by the science club but over time was an effort of the whole school, science teacher Beverly McDavid said.

Environmental education is one of Eastern Kentucky Pride’s chief goals, said field representative Mark Davis. “It’s a seed we are sowing for the future. Through the education process we are transforming the region, our habits and our routines,” he said.

Outdoor classrooms have a clear educational purpose, according to Elizabeth Schmitz, executive director of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council.

Among research findings are increases in test scores, better attendance and more engaged students when the environment is a part of learning, she said. Students also improve in problem solving, critical thinking and creative thinking, she said.

The outdoor classroom is meant to be a facility that will last and benefit students for years, McDavid said.

The greenhouse also is a long-term project that, in addition to serving as a teaching tool, is used to grow vegetables for the school cafeteria and flowers the club can sell for Mothers Day, she said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Highway naming ceremony set

    State leaders will join Kentucky Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini in Morehead next week to name a Kentucky highway in memory of a Rowan County native and member of the United States Air Force with 12 years of service who died last year while serving in Afghanistan.

    July 25, 2014

  • Package liquor sales begin in Grayson

    It took more than a year, an investment of about $750,000, and a lot of paperwork but packaged liquor went on sale last Thursday in Grayson.
    Grayson Beverage Center received its license last Tuesday and was able to begin sales as soon as the shelves were stocked.

    July 25, 2014

  • Lemonade stand is paying off of 12-year-old

    During most of the past week, drivers traveling down 13th Street have been seeing a young man selling lemonade on the side of the road for 75 cents a cup.
    That would be Lucas Gillum, a kid who has a heart for helping others.

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726FairFri0306.jpg Friday fantastic day for fair activities

    Among the many smiling faces along the midway at the Boyd County Fair Friday evening, Jesse Cline’s excited grin stood out in the crowd as he prepared to perform for his home-county crowd.
    “I go to Idol Wednesday,” said Cline, who made it to Hollywood during last year’s season of American Idol.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Manchin being sued by brother for $1.7M

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III faces a $1.7 million civil suit filed by a brother over a lifeline to save a family carpet business in the late 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • Good deed done: ReStore returns cash to owner

    Staff of Huntington WV Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore recently discovered a large sum of money in a donated piece of furniture.

    July 25, 2014

  • Highway to be named for late airman from Morehead

    State leaders will join Kentucky Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini in Morehead next week to name a Kentucky highway in memory of a Rowan County native and member of the United States Air Force with 12 years of service who died last year while serving in Afghanistan.S

    July 25, 2014

  • Food vendor charged in slaying back to selling

    A Louisville hot dog vendor who is free on bond after being charged with murder in a suspected case of road rage has returned to selling hot dogs at his long-time perch in front of the courthouse.

    July 25, 2014

  • 2 charged with punishing child with hot sauce

    Two people have been charged with criminal abuse after police say they force fed hot sauce and vinegar to a 4-year-old girl on several occasions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Paul blends privacy with civil rights in speech

    U.S. Sen. Rand Paul blended his message of libertarian-fueled privacy policies with civil rights-inspired criminal justice reforms during a speech Friday to the National Urban League’s annual convention in this presidential battleground state.

    July 25, 2014