LiveGreenLexington School Recognition Ceremony
The third annual Earth Day Celebration organized by the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council and Bluegrass Greensource featured more than 60 schools getting kudos for their “green” efforts in 2013-2014 and an unusual keynote message from acclaimed cellist Ben Sollee, who performed onstage amid his remarks.
Opening with “Something, Somewhere, Sometime,” Sollee described how he feels about using so many resources in his extensive travels. “To travel is to take. That’s been hard for me to reconcile,” he told the audience of students and other environmental supporters. To ease the impact and simply slow the pace, he actually travels by bicycle for part of the year, which allows him a chance to experience sustainability – like a light way of living.
The sustainability council’s student facilitator, Marie Armbruster, noted how her peers’ engagement and hard work are also making a difference. For instance, teenagers have volunteered at The Nature Conservancy, placed recycling receptacles at high school stadiums, painted eco-art on storm drains to raise awareness and conducted energy audits in schools and city buildings. “Our generation is where culture change will start,” said Marie, a senior at Lafayette High School. “As we branch out, we will have made sustainability a priority for our lives.”
Transylvania University hosted the April 28 countywide celebration, which encompassed public and private schools. About 15 organizations set up resource tables for the Earth Day expo, ranging from Elmwood Stock Farm with its jars of salsa and bags of peas and the Transylvania Environmental Action League with its borrow-a-bike program, to Farm 2 School with samples of fresh honey and the STEAM Academy with artwork made of recycled plastic bottles and leftover bulletin board paper.
“It’s all about taking responsibility to do the right thing. We have to teach each upcoming generation how to take care of our land, air and water,” said Susan Plueger, LFUCG commissioner of environmental quality.
The recognitions included “Excellence in Water Education” awards presented by Kentucky American Water; awards from Live Green Lexington and Bluegrass Greensource for its recycling, water and energy partner schools; and nods from Fayette County Public Schools, Kentucky NEED (National Energy Education Development project) and Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools.
Photographs by Malcolm Stallons, Division of Environmental Policy.