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26 new certified environmental educators recognized at state capitol

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 1, 2017) — Twenty-six of Kentucky’s environmental educators were recognized as Certified Professional Environmental Educators at a ceremony at the state capitol in Frankfort today. Brad Montell, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, delivered the keynote address.

The Certified Professional Environmental Educators completed the state’s rigorous Professional Environmental Educator Certification (PEEC) course that was conducted from November 2016 – May 2017. The course is offered by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The PEEC course, now with 213 graduates since the program was launched in 2004, is based on national guidelines designed to professionalize the field of environmental education by standardizing best practices. It was accredited by the North American Association for Environmental Education in 2015.

“I was a relative newcomer to environmental education when I joined the 2007-2008 PEEC course, and the networking opportunities provided to me were immeasurably beneficial,” said Billy Bennett, now the executive director of the KEEC.

“In addition to numerous resources and contacts, I gained a much better understanding of environmental education’s role as it pertains to both formal and non-formal settings, especially presenting complex environmental issues without advocating for a particular viewpoint.”

The following 26 people were recognized as Certified Professional Environmental Educators:

Carmen Agouridis, Fayette County
Dale Booth, Franklin County
Susan Brown, Harlan County
Ashley Bryant Cheney, Fayette County
Jo Ann Corum, Clay County
Michael Downs, Fayette County
Joseph Franzen, Jefferson County
Jackie Gallimore, Fayette County
Jeanine Huss, Warren County
Tim Joice, Jefferson County
Jessica Kane, Jefferson County
Rebecca Konopka, Carter County
Megan McCarty, Fayette County
Katherine Morrison, Fayette County
Angie Muncy, Leslie County
Moria Painter, Russell County
Steven Rogers, Fayette County
Trinity Shepherd, Floyd County
April Simmons, Fayette County
Jen Smith, Morgan County, Indiana
Traci Tackett, Pike County
Jamie Thorn, Russell County
Jane Vanhook, Lincoln County
Heather Warman, Fayette County
Nic Williamson, Fayette County
Rachelle Wood, Jefferson County

Certified Professional Environmental Educators are required to complete annual continuing education to renew their certification. Those who renewed for at least six years receive the Master Environmental Educator designation.

Master Environmental Educator Jenny Howard Owen, who has participated in and taught the course, said, “In the academic context, environmental education (EE) is a fantastic approach for helping teachers and students connect classroom topics and lessons to real life. Outside the classroom, EE offers us tools for understanding how our daily lives and communities are directly affected by and connected to the natural environment.”

For more information about the PEEC course, visit keec.ky.gov.