Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 15, 2013

West Middle to be featured on KET Monday

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

FRANKFORT — A Carter County school will be featured on an edition of KET’s “Education Matters” Monday night.

The program, hosted by Bill Goodman, airs at 9 p.m.  Titled “Environmental Education in Kentucky,” the edition explores “how environmental education helps Kentucky students master science and other academic content through engaging hands-on learning experiences that demonstrate how their choices and actions affect the world around them.”

West Carter Middle School students and teacher Beverly McDavid will be featured along with the school’s zero-energy greenhouse, used to grow flowers and vegetables.

McDavid teaches eighth-grade sciences along with advising the science club, which includes seventh- and sixth-graders. It was those students who built the greenhouse about two years ago but it is now used by them and her eighth-grade classes, said McDavid.

The 10-by-10 foot structure was constructed from about 1,100 discarded plastic soda bottles and includes other recycled materials including tires and rain barrels.

“I’ve always had my students do things outdoors,” said McDavid. “I feel like kids love the outdoors and they like to do activities that involve nature. When I saw this type of greenhouse, I thought it was really interesting and they would enjoy building it. It also had a good energy fit.”

The KET segment may also feature McDavid’s Energy Bike, which students use. The bicycle is connected to a circuit board and a generator, which converts the students mechanical energy to electrical energy. It lights three different types of bulbs — florescent, incandescent and LED.

“They are able to see for themselves exactly how much more energy it takes to light up those incandescent light bulbs and compared to florescent lights and the energy efficient LEDs. They can see how much energy can be saved by switching.”

McDavid routinely tries to incorporate environmental science lessons into all areas of the eighth-grade curriculum, including math, writing and science.

“I really think it is important,” said McDavid. “You get them to see how important it is to take care of the environment. I just feel like if they learn that early in life and have a love for the environment, that it will stick with them,” she said.

Her students, McDavid said, are very excited about Monday’s television program.

“They say they are going to be famous,” she said. Their teacher is “excited for them,” but “a little nervous,” too.

In addition to the segment on West Carter, Education Matters will feature a visit to Blackacre Nature Reserve in Louisville with a group of inner-city students who were participating in field study activities.

Featured panelists include: Elizabeth Schmitz, of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council; Sean Elkins, science consultant at the Kentucky Department of Education; Tresine Logsdon, energy and substantiality curriculum coordinator for Fayette County Public Schools and Dr. Melinda Wilder, professor of curriculum and instruction and director of the Division of Natural Areas at Eastern Kentucky University.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.