Written by: Melissa Melton
Kentucky Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) staff are gearing up for the 49th annual Earth Day on April 22. Schools and communities across the state have been submitting technical assistance requests from RCAP since December for Earth Day events and activities because of RCAP’s role in helping communities build capacity in managing solid waste and recycling activities. RCAP has scheduled eight events from March 28 through April 26, 2019, with specific plans for Earth Day with Frakes Elementary School students. Spanning so many education levels and age groups, early preparation as a technical assistance provider has been critical. Scheduled events range from a county Homemakers Safety and Management Committee to those with 4-H Clubs, and events with classes from kindergarten to high school. In Frakes, a community of approximately 600, RCAP will offer a minimum of 12 classes to various age groups. Kentucky staff has created individual classroom packets to leave with each teacher to distribute after the program. In addition to fun educational materials, the packets contain local solid waste management (SWM) and recycling materials. This information includes what may be recycled within their local community, rules to prevent contamination of materials, and locations of collection bins if services are provided other than a curbside pick-up.
During the first few months of the year, Kentucky RCAP gathers specific information from local groups to determine if one main event will be held or if individual classroom events are needed so the appropriate presentation and educational classes can be prepared. To make each event successful, RCAP works to obtain teachers’ names, grade levels and the number of students in each class. RCAP recommends meeting with the community’s local SWM provider to include any local messages they wish to convey, and even request that they participate in the educational sessions.
The Earth Day Network is a great resource when preparing the marketing materials and presentations for these events. The network’s mission is to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide” The network prepares toolkits that support the annual Earth Day theme for non-profit partners, schools, and students alike. The 2019 Earth Day theme is Protect Our Species. Each year, Kentucky RCAP browses the website for other valuable resources that incorporate the annual theme. Organizations can also register their own Earth Day events on the network’s site. Preparing early paves the way for successful Earth Day activities and creates an annual tradition of educating community members on the importance of protecting their planet.
This article was submitted by the Great Lakes RCAP, Great Lakes Community Assistance Partnership (