• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCCD celebrates Earth Day with tree seedling giveaway, Donations support conservation, education

WCCD BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, back, from left, Donald Mitchell, Curtis Congleton, Peggy Carter Seal and Darrell Varner, with operations manager Jimmy Chambers; and front row, from left, Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle and Harold Carmickle, chair of the Woodford County Conservation District Board of Supervisors, during a recent proclamation signing for Earth Day. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

The Woodford County Conservation District (WCCD) will again celebrate Earth Day with a tree seedling giveaway on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Versailles Kroger.

Also during this Earth Day event, representatives of the Woodford County Extension Master Gardeners, Kentucky Division of Forestry and Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary will be available to answer questions about gardening, tree planting and the natural environment.

To support various activities and programs to improve the environment and aid environmental education, several local schools and community organizations have received WCCD donations and grants.

With a $500 donation from the WCCD, Southside Elementary School could again host a Science Day for its fourth-graders. Students learn about being good stewards of the Earth’s natural resources, said teacher Pam Shouse.

A $225 donation to Northside Elementary allows students and their families to plant raised flower beds at their school’s annual Spring Cleanup Day. Northside’s Lighthouse Team received a $500 donation to purchase flowers, plants and mulch for their school’s Spring Cleanup Day.

“Without their (the conservation district’s) help,” said Northside first-grade teacher Amy Gordon, “we wouldn’t be able to do all the projects that we would like to do.”

Besides the annual cleanup of Northside’s campus grounds on Saturday, she said students will create “Only One You” rocks (decorated to look like fish) to be placed around a tree in the school’s front yard. “We’re all in this together, but we’re all unique in our own way,” said Gordon of its visual message.

A group of ladies called the “Tree Sweater Gang” will make sweaters for trees at Northside. “The colors … are supposed to just make you happy,” said Gordon. “So we’re hoping to bring some of that color and cheer to Northside.”

Also at Northside Elementary, a $493.58 donation means kindergarten classes will have a new incubator to use for a science project that gives every student an opportunity to witness the life cycle. Students learn the benefits of raising chickens after witnessing chicks emerge from their fertilized eggs, the donation application stated.

A unique art project led by teacher Kellie Goff (and helped by a $250 WCCD donation for supplies) allows her students to learn how they can improve their planet.

The fourth-grade environmental club at Southside received a $320 donation for garden and Earth Day supplies to learn how they can promote conservation through recycling and by helping their environment.

Woodford County High School was awarded $1,000 to buy recycling bins for an initiative that involved students creating videos to educate and promote awareness about recycling.

Northside Elementary received donations of $600.18 and $250 so 70 first-graders could visit Salato Wildlife Center and kindergartners could purchase supplies (soil, mulch and a birdfeeder) to maintain an array of gardening activities.

“We’ve always been interested in educating our youth,” said Peggy Carter Seal, vice chair of the WCCD board and chair of its education committee.

“Our donations to teachers is a way for them to do things within their classrooms and schools that will help to teach students about conservation – whether it be recycling, planting trees, hatching chicks … things that they might not otherwise be able to afford to do in their schools.” Grants were awarded to Friends of Walter Bradley Park ($500) to purchase pawpaw trees in support of ongoing efforts to make improvements to the Midway public park; Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary ($500) to replace dead ash trees at its entrance with flowers, flowering shrubs and trees; and the Woodford Heritage Committee received $500 to enhance the water flow and appearance of a spring at the Jack Jouett House historic site.

The Woodford County Conservation District also awarded agricultural/natural resources scholarships to Woodford County High School seniors Emma Cress ($3,000) and Breanna Hysell ($2,000).

Both students will continue their education in areas associated with conservation, but more importantly, each of them was a worthy candidate for the scholarship because of their high academic standing and community involvement, said Seal.

Teresa Currans, who taught at Huntertown Elementary School until her retirement in October, was named the WCCD Teacher of the Year. “She’s very deserving,” said Seal, a former second-grade teacher at Southside Elementary

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