Stream Days at the Academy for Leadership at Millcreek Elementary

IMG_3916Millcreek has a wonderful tradition of having Stream Days twice a year. On these days, every student learns to appreciate the stream that they have behind their school. By seeing the creatures that live there and exploring their school’s landscape, students discover why the health of water matters to everyone and everything and how they can help to keep water clean.

This year kindergarten through second grade went on a wildlife safari where they saw animals that used the stream, including ducks, minnows, and even some aquatic insects.  Third through fifth grade were in the gym due to weather. However, with the help of experiential education extraordinaire and Children’s Garden Education Coordinator at the Arboretum, Emma Trestor-Wilson, the creek was brought to them! They shifted through leaf packets and rocks to discover that a lot of creatures live at the bottom of stream! After that, students played a game with a parachute (remember the multi-colored parachute you used in gym class?) where they tried to clean the litter out of Millcreek and other pollutants out of larger bodies of water. It was wonderful to see students so engaged in an activity where they were practicing cleaning a stream!

The stream itself has gone through a major transformation. It began as nothing more than “eroding, urban ditch” but was restored to “improve water quality, create habitat for animals and aquatic life, and create a facility for environmental education,” according to the sign at Millcreek. This was a major effort put together by 17 agencies and businesses including Toyota, Kentucky Fish and Wild, Ecogro and more!

Millcreek continues to provide a wonderful opportunity for their students to get outside and appreciate nature! The students there truly have something special!  Not only do they have the stream, they have a committed staff.  This includes the teachers, especially Ms. Snowden, who organized the event, and Coach Parr who was so concerned about the litter we found at the creek from stormwater runoff that he led a group of students to do a litter clean up, and an administration that are committed to environmental education. Nice work, Millcreek!


BGGS Open House

There was a flurry of activity and much excitement as Bluegrass Greensource Educators hosted an open house for educators in the Bluegrass area.  Educators and students were given the opportunity to learn about environmental activities and materials available to the public.  While teachers and educators discussed lessons and upcoming events students participated in hands-on activities.  The recycled jewelry table was crowded with older students making earrings and bracelets.  Younger students made animal track books to take home.  Recycled hover crafts made from CDs and bottle caps were a big hit with all age groups!  BGGS educators also modeled how to host a waste free event by using compostable and/or reusable tableware.  If you weren’t able to attend but would like information about activities and materials available to the public please contact Pattie Stivender, our Education Director.

See photos from our event on our Facebook page!


Celebrate Earth Day at the 2014-15 LGL School Partner Recognition Ceremony

Please join us as we recognize Fayette County schools for their efforts in sustainability.  Schools will be recognized for outstanding efforts in waste reduction, water quality and conservation, and energy conservation.

Over 80 public and private schools will be recognized this year.

Educators are encouraged to bring students that have had an impact on their school’s sustainability.

Please RSVP (school name, number of people attending) with Pattie Stivender,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
5:00 – 6:30 PM
The Kentucky Theater
214 East Main St. Lexington


What Book Should All Kentuckians Read in Their Lifetime?

Remember your favorite book – the one so good you forgot to eat or sleep because you couldn’t put it down? And then became annoyed when the movie version got it wrong? Share it with someone else!  Bluegrass Greensource is partnering with Teach For America on a “best books campaign,” searching for the one book that every Kentuckian must read.  The number one voted title will be donated to 24 schools in Kentucky. And you can win a Kindle!  It takes just a minute and has a big impact – vote and share!

Snap a picture of yourself with your favorite book!  Photos can be submitted to

Teach For America is an education non-profit that places great teachers in low-income schools in Kentucky.

Link to vote and share –


Dupree Outdoor Days Connect Garrard and Jessamine County Students to Nature


“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

The Nature Conservancy’s newest Kentucky nature preserve invites people to connect with nature in order to deepen their understanding, appreciation, and support for Kentucky’s lands and waters. Schools in the area responded to that invitation with a resounding yes! During the month of October, approximately 400 students from Garrard and Jessamine Counties visited Dupree Nature Preserve to experience outdoor learning days.


The focus of the outdoor learning days was to allow children the opportunity to explore the trails of the preserve while learning about environmental subjects. Students attended sessions that highlighted Kentucky animals, watersheds and water quality, orienteering, tree identification, and raft construction with the goal of developing knowledge and skills by participating in real-life projects. Students were able to connect to their local environment and learn the importance of stewardship of their community’s natural resources.

Although favorite activities varied from student to student, raft building received the most enthusiastic response. This activity highlighted the ferry that was once found on the preserve. Water travel was important to the settlers that lived here, as it allowed them to ship their goods to a wider market. The questions posed to the students were: How did the settlers cross the river? How did they send and receive goods in this setting? Students were challenged to use natural materials to construct a raft that could transport goods in the absence of a ferry.

One student summed up her experience as the buses were leaving by shouting “Thank you! We had a great day!” Bluegrass Greensource would like to thank Toyota for funding Dupree Outdoor Days and TNC volunteer Ken Brooks for coordinating the events. We had a great day, too!



Going to the Source: Helping Central Kentuckians Understand the Basis of Their Energy Supply

There has been much in the news about energy issues, such as “clean coal” and mountain top removal mining. We will continue to educate Kentucky’s students about this important topic for their future, teaching them about both the positive and negative aspects of using coal. As future leaders, today’s students need to be knowledgeable so they can make informed decisions in their lives today and in the future.

Greensource’s environmental educators will work with 25 teachers to teach a series of experiential classroom activities, each aligned to Kentucky’s Core Academic Standards (KCAS). These activities will help students learn about coal’s role in the economies of Kentucky and the nation, the historical and cultural aspects of coal production, and the environmental challenges related to the production and use of coal. The activities will also enable students to explore the feasibility of alternative energy resources and their role in meeting the energy needs of Kentucky and the nation and the importance of conservation and energy efficiency in offsetting the rising demands of energy in KY.

A minimum of four classroom activities will be conducted for each participating teacher’s classes. Topics for these activities include alternative energy sources and the impacts of coal on Kentucky’s culture, economy, and environment.

Program Highlights:

The program consists of two components:

All participating Classrooms:

Experiential education in classrooms – Four classroom lessons aligned to KY educational standards


Elementary School Classrooms:

Field trip for students to coal and/or energy facilities

Middle and High School Classrooms:

Energy discussion and job fair to be held at Transylvania University in May 2015

For more information about this FREE Educational opportunity contact:

Pattie Stivender, Education Coordinator

Phone: 859-266-1572


Funding for this program is provided by the Department for Energy Development and Independence.

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Bluegrass Greensource and Kentucky American Water present the Water Stewardship School Program

KAW logo

Bluegrass Greensource is excited to kick off a new school program this fall.  In partnership with Kentucky American Water, Greensource is offering a water quality and conservation education program for fourth grade students in Bourbon, Clark, Owen, Scott, and Woodford Counties.  Participating schools will spend two days working with Bluegrass Greensource educators in the classroom.  Students will be able to learn about where their drinking water comes from here in Central Kentucky – through Kentucky American Water’s pumping and filtration stations.  Students will also examine their watersheds and learn how they have a direct impact on the water they are drinking.  After exploring issues like point source and non-point source pollution, groundwater, and the water cycle, students will participate in a project that allows them to take action in their communities to improve local water quality.  All activities are aligned with Kentucky science standards and are hands-on learning opportunities for students.

If you are a teacher in one of these counties and are interested in participating, please contact Blair Hecker to schedule!


Wanted: Educators to Check Out our Buckets!

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Bluegrass Greensource has a vast library of buckets available for check out through our office. Perhaps you want to teach about animals, camouflage and nocturnal vs. diurnal. Our Animal Pelts bucket would be perfect for that! That bucket includes native animal pelts from central Kentucky, such as beavers, white-tailed deer, and grey squirrels.

Another popular resource library item is the Soils bucket, which is designed to introduce students to soil science and to investigate the characteristics of soil in a given place. Activities in this bucket examine various aspects of soil quality from nutrient composition to plant presence. Finally, soil testing tools from this bucket allow students to explore soils firsthand.

All the buckets are available for check out for up to two weeks. If you are interested, contact Michelle at or (859) 266-1572.


Opportunities to learn about environment, how to take care of it, abound

A few weekends ago I was fortunate enough to attend the 37th annual Kentucky Association of Environmental Educators conference at the Lake Barkley Lodge down in the western part of the state. It was a fantastic time filled with educational workshops and set in a beautiful part of the state. (If you have never gotten the chance to visit Lake Barkley or Land Between the Lakes, I would highly recommend the long drive. Definitely worth it.)

It was equally exciting to spend time with so many people who understand the value of environmental education and the impact it can have on the lives of others. From professionals like myself, who get to focus on environmental education all the time, to volunteers and school teachers who might not get to spend as much time as they would like, it was great to come together and benefit from the experience of others.

It struck me as I was going from my different workshops and interacting with all of the different people who attended that there really is something for everyone in the environmental education field. As long as you have the desire to learn and teach about the environment as your base, you can take environmental education and plug it in anywhere.

It can be found in obvious places such as schools and with nonprofits, or in less obvious places such as works of art, sports and in businesses. For example, one of the workshops I had the opportunity to take was on eco-graffiti and how artists across the world have used a mixture of moss blended with water a few other materials and have created paintings on the side of brick and concrete surfaces that are alive and grow.

During my time there I enjoyed a trail run and got a chance to canoe, both experiences that offered an opportunity to learn about the environment through both signs and guides. And while networking, it was fascinating to hear about the different ways businesses are learning and interacting with the environment, which not only results in a healthier environment, but also is becoming a standard way to save money and increase profits.

No matter how you look at it, environmental education can be found anywhere and as more people embrace all that it has to offer, hopefully we will all get on the same page about its importance.

1 Ryan-Farley

Ryan Farley serves Bluegrass Greensource in a hybrid role, working as an environmental educator with several outreach specialist responsibilities. Ryan received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgetown College and a master’s in recreation and park administration from Eastern Kentucky University. He has worked at wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Texas and with Kentucky 4-H in various roles. Farley provides educational programs to several Fayette County schools and works with downtown businesses and the greater Lexington community to educate and empower residents to become better environmental stewards.

This article appeared in KY Forward on October 3, 2013.

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