In April 3 IssueBy Kim GrahamRCN Reporter
Last Saturday, the first Russell Recycles event was held at Kroger in Russell Springs.
Russell County Personal Responsibility in a Desired Environment (PRIDE) Club and Russell County Conservation District partnered to encourage local residents to protect their environment by recycling and using energy efficient products.
Their vision is to educate the public and provide resources to assist the community in sustainable living.
“I like helping the environment,” said Katie Passmore, RCHS sophomore.
“I like going on trips to see what other people are doing to help the environment. We’ve seen demonstrations of windmills, solar panels, and all kinds of neat stuff.”
Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., a nonprofit organization, coordinates the initiative and operates grant programs to fund local efforts to accomplish the PRIDE goals.
“Community events like Russell Recycles bring public awareness to the importance of protecting and preserving our natural resources,” said Jennifer Hardwick, Russell County Conservation District. “Young people who volunteer their time and efforts to these events are a crucial element to ensuring future generations also conserve and protect the environment.”
She said Russell County Conservation District received a grant from PRIDE to purchase the 125 recycle bins that were given away at Russell Recycles.
Kroger hosted the event at their store front and also donated 25 reusable tote bags that were given away to attendees.
Russell Recycles was well received with more than 170 local residents stopping in to learn more about environmental stewardship.
Volunteers from Russell County PRIDE Club, led by Russell County Middle School teacher, Jean Clement, included 14 students from 7th to 10th grades.
“I love PRIDE because I always get to be the club’s mascot, J.W. Waterford the frog,” said RCHS Sophomore Jacquita Antle. “I like to make people smile and help with the environment.”
The local PRIDE Club received a $300 Energy Star grant to provide compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs free to folks who signed a commitment to be more energy conscious.
“In the past 11 years since we started the PRIDE club, I have seen Russell County make great strides in environmental awareness and their efforts to be good stewards of our natural resources,” said Clement.
Clement said the goal of the Energy Star program is to get people to convert to more energy efficient home appliances and CFL light bulbs.
She said the PRIDE club also received Kentucky National Energy Education (NEED) Project mini grants in conjunction with the Energy Star grant to provide free CFL bulbs at this and other events throughout the year.
Local environmental events and recycle programs at all Russell County schools are conducted by students who participate in PRIDE Club, a Twenty First Century after school program.
“The past 4 years in PRIDE Club we’ve gone from a middle school only recycling program to including all Russell County elementary schools and the high school,” said Marketta Lawless, RCHS sophomore.
“We’ve grown as a club and as a community.”