Environmental education resources for schools

Environmental Quality and Public Works (EQPW) provides environmental education services to public and private schools throughout Fayette County. Explore the different services offered to our K-12 partners below.

Classroom-based lessons

Students will have the opportunity to learn about our City by exploring lessons related to waste management, water quality and sustainability. For 2nd and 3rd Grade students, we now also have a cycling education program.

The purpose of these units is to build an understanding of the subject matter presented over time. These lessons will increase students' awareness of their environmental impact and ability to help mitigate our community's environmental challenges. After completion of a unit, students are able to participate in a free related experience.


Cycling Thematic Unit

Many of these lessons come from established environmental education curricula. Some lessons have been created by staff or developed by related agencies. Referenced curricula include, but are not limited to, Project Learning Tree, Project WET, Project WILD, Population Education, Waste in Place, Don’t Waste It, etc.

Lessons are tied to Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) and North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Excellence in Environmental Education: Guidelines for Learning (K-12).

Teacher professional development

The City of Lexington develops, promotes and facilitates professional development workshops for kindergarten through 12th grade educators who work in public and private schools in Lexington-Fayette County. Trainings are aligned with state education standards. Workshops focus on multi-modal transportation, waste management and water quality.

Teachers’ Environmental Academy

Modeled after the city’s Community Environmental Academy, teachers will participate in week-long workshop focused on environmental challenges in Lexington. Participating educators will learn how to bring real-world issues into their classrooms to engage students in their local community. They will be introduced to individuals in the community that are available to assist them in their classrooms.

The dates for the 2024 Teachers’ Environmental Academy are:

  • Elementary Academy | June 10 – 14
  • Middle/High Academy | July 8 – 12

Registration will open on April 15, 2024. Check back here to register.

Teachers who complete the academy by participating in the five workshops will receive:

  • A $500 stipend or have costs for a substitute reimbursed
  • Tours of the Recycle Center, the Wastewater Treatment Plant and more
  • Training in curriculum from Don't Waste It, Project WET, Project WILD and Population Education
  • Breakfast and lunch each day

Each participating teacher commits to:

  • One week of trainings, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day
  • Missing no more than one session and finding another teacher from their school to take their place if they do miss that one day (final day is mandatory for the primary teacher)
  • Timely responses to questions regarding payments for stipends
  • Use the information covered in the workshop in their classroom

Fayette County teachers only (public or private). Only one teacher per school will be accepted unless special provisions are made. Please email dwoolums@lexingtonky.gov to request an exception.

Follow LiveGreenLex on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn about upcoming PD opportunities.

School recognition

Schools that regularly participate in the waste management or water quality units will receive an artistic print in recognition of their efforts. Teachers who help fulfill the requirements will receive a print for their classroom.

Bronze: Schools that complete six lessons (spread across several classrooms and/or both units) will be recognized at the bronze level.

Silver: Schools that complete at least one unit (one classroom, four lessons from the same unit) or twelve classes (spread across multiple classrooms, from either/both units) will be recognized at the silver level.

Gold: Schools that complete at least two units (four lessons from the same unit for a given classroom x 2, can be two different classes doing the two units) or twenty classes (spread across multiple classrooms, from either/both units) will be recognized at the gold level.

Field trips

Several field trips to city-owned sites are available to complement the lesson units. For public schools, the city will cover the cost of buses and substitutes for these outings. Funding for the financial assistance is limited.

  • The Lexington Recycle Center, 4th grade and above: Learn about the process of collecting, sorting and selling recyclable materials.
  • The Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant, 4th grade and above: Learn where water goes once you flush the toilet or after you take a shower. See the process used to clean the water before release it back to the environment.

Schools involved in the associated units can talk to their assigned educator about scheduling a field trip. Other groups should email dwoolums@lexingtonky.gov with request details. Please note that we cannot always accommodate field trips.

Support staff

Custodial staff, child nutrition managers and office staff are invited to participate in focus groups with stipends and opportunities to visit City service sites. Education staff can perform waste audits with support staff to help schools understand the importance of recycling and reducing contamination. This data can then be used to develop or improve a school’s recycling plan and identify needed outreach materials.

Because services extend beyond the school day, our education team can be consulted about improving recycling at athletic events, school dances, academic competitions, etc. Specific protocols and signage for recycling have been developed and are available for use by interested school groups.

Communication about opportunities to be involved will be sent to school principals by the environmental education coordinator. Be on the lookout for ways to get involved!

Funding opportunities

Stormwater Quality Incentive Grants

The city has education grants available for projects that facilitate understanding and action related to stormwater. The maximum grant amount is $35,000. Any amount over $2,500 requires a 20% cost share, though in-kind match is accepted. Applications typically open in February each year and are due in early May.

Learn more