In Nov. 11 Issue
PRIDE has honored Russell County Middle School for outstanding achievements in environmental education during the 2009-10 school year with a very distinct honor.
RCMS won PRIDE's Champion of the Earth Award, which distinguishes the region's most accomplished environmental education programs.
By cultivating exceptional programs and facilities, the winners have shown a long-term commitment to equipping students to transform their community and world.
The award was presented last Wednesday during a ceremony at RCMS. The school received a trophy and $750 for its environmental education program.
"Russell County Middle School has been active in the PRIDE environmental education program for more than 10 years, and that long-term commitment is making a difference in the lives of students and the entire community," said PRIDE's Mark Davis. "Many students learn better by doing hands-on activities, which is at the heart of environmental education. RCMS students test water quality, they promote recycling, and they volunteer. They are preparing to be effective leaders in the future."
The local middle school has an outdoor classroom shelter, nature trail, observation deck, bird and butterfly habitat, Enviroscape watershed model and a booming recycling project, which is managed by the school's PRIDE Club.
The PRIDE Club is active in the NEED (National Energy Education Development) Project. The club participated in the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery Earth Day Event, where they collected pledges for the Change-A-Light, Change the World campaign. They partnered with the Russell County Conservation District to host a Russell County Recycles Day, when they gave away recycling bins and information about local recycling.
The service-oriented PRIDE club is sponsored by the 21st Century After School Program.
RCMS has won several PRIDE awards for environmental education in the past as well, including the PRIDE Middle School Campus of the Year Award in 2003. In 2008, Jean Clement, the teacher who co-sponsors the RCMS PRIDE program, won the region's Rogers-Bickford Environmental Leadership Award.
PRIDE is a nonprofit organization that promotes "Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment" in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. It was founded in 1997 by Congressman Hal Rogers and James E. Bickford, the state's Environmental Protection Secretary.