Have a passion for improving Lexington’s environment and looking for the chance to make a difference? The Citizens’ Environmental Academy might be just the thing for you. Applications will be accepted between Friday, Feb. 8, and Friday, March 29.
The year-long program is presented by Lexington's Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works, and is designed to engage Fayette County residents in environmental issues related to the department’s work.
At first, participants meet one Saturday a month for talks, tours and hands-on activities. Session sites include the Recycling Center, Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Senior Center and McConnell Springs. The program then shifts gears and participants carry out group projects related to what they’ve learned in the academy. Each participant is allowed up to $2,500 to contribute toward their chosen project. Projects are selected by class vote and must be approved, along with a budget, by the city.
“Being a part of the Citizens’ Environmental Academy definitely gave me a new perspective on how my personal choices and actions affect all the things ‘downstream,’ whether it be the plastic waste I produce or the things I pour down my sink,” says Sandra Broadus. “It has made me a more conscientious consumer and a better advocate for our city among my friends and colleagues.”
Brian Popa says the part of the academy he enjoyed the most was touring the different facilities managed by the Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works, especially waste water treatment and recycling plants. “I was able to learn a great deal because I had not previously thought about how these operations worked,” Popa says. “Not only did I get to see the inner workings firsthand, but I learned about the challenges these operational units faced and how, as a citizen, I can help.”
Dawn Shroyer says the experience has helped her professionally. “I am very grateful for the opportunity and that the city decided to invest in me with this experience. I know it has been a mutually rewarding experience because I have used the tools to keep making progress and do not plan to slow down!”
For additional information, including the academy schedule and application, visit www.lexingtonky.gov/CEA. Applications are due March 29, and the new class will begin on May 18.