Every year, I look forward to March as it involves one of my favorite events. Thanks to funding from the Kentucky Office of Energy Policy, students from Central Kentucky are given the unique opportunity to learn about the history and the future of energy in Kentucky. Bluegrass Greensource educators work with 5 students from 12 different schools to help give them background knowledge about energy and then take them on an overnight trip to Benham and Lynch, KY, where they get to see a former coal-mining community. It has been such a special program to me as we watch students get to visit a different part of their state that they might not have visited otherwise and connect big conversations that they hear around them to real places and people.
This year, amid the early warnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, our trip still carried through. Unfortunately, half of our schools were not able to join us but that didn’t stop us from making this one of the best trips we’ve done. The weather has often been uncooperative, but this year it seemed to be on our side while students got to explore these historic communities and several of their main attractions. From Portal 31 (a retired coal mine) to the Kentucky Coal Museum, students were immersed in the living history of our state. Trying something different this year, we also took the students to nearby Kingdom Come State Park to learn about how wildlife have adapted to coal mining in the region and go fishing while learning about coal mining runoff. Having the students wrap up their learning experiences outside in the amazing weather was something special for the teachers and staff who have been on this trip before. It felt like such a relief from the stress in the world and the challenges we would be returning to.
I am so thankful for the communities who have welcomed us every year and look forward to seeing them again in the future!