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!


LiveGreenLexington School Partners Recognized for Outstanding Efforts in Sustainability

Students from across Fayette County marked Earth Day 2015 by holding up each other’s green initiatives and successes, and dozens of schools received banners touting this year’s sustainability achievements. Forty-two public and private schools attended this year’s recognition ceremony.

The big highlight for Morton Middle was designation as a Kentucky Green & Healthy School. (Only two others in FCPS have reached this level – Henry Clay High in 2010 and Jessie Clark Middle in 2012.) Meanwhile, Bryan Station Middle celebrated its selection as a 2015 Green Ribbon School. (Others that have received this national honor were Wellington Elementary in 2014, Locust Trace AgriScience Center in 2013 and Rosa Parks Elementary in 2012.) Providence Montessori Middle School received recognition as Bluegrass Greensource’s volunteers of the year.

This year’s ceremony was held at the Kentucky Theatre where the students learned of LFUCGs green initiatives from Susan Plueger, director for the Division of Environmental Services.  Mayor Jim Gray congratulated teachers and students for their sustainability efforts.  The Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council shared their project committee work – noting that students from eight public and private high schools worked together to achieve their goals.

The council’s facilitator, senior Millie Ma of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, delivered an impassioned speech that inspired the crowd.   “Through the interconnected networks we have formed, we can make a difference. It is up to our generation to shift the trajectory and realign our priorities,” Millie said. “Our dedication to improving sustainability will undoubtedly translate into a life-long commitment. We aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow. We are the leaders of today, and we are the key to a better planet.”

Awards included congratulations from Live Green Lexington (LFUCG and Bluegrass Greensource) to its recycling, water and energy partner schools; kudos from FCPS for E=USE2 participants; nods from Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools and Kentucky NEED (National Energy Education Development project); and “Excellence in Water Education” prizes presented by Kentucky American Water. In a new twist on the latter, 10 schools submitted public service announcements on the value of quality water from river to tap, and four were selected to receive water bottle refilling stations: Cardinal Valley, Julius Marks and Wellington elementaries and SCAPA at Bluegrass.