Earth Day at Campbellsville University

April 21, 2017
For Immediate Release

Students from Kentucky Christian Academy help planting some saplings on Campbellsville University campus on Earth Day. ((Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker) 
Students from Kentucky Christian Academy help planting some saplings on Campbellsville University campus on Earth Day. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

By Jesse Harp, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Paul Osborne, former professor at Campbellsville University and Campbellsville Mayor and who serves on the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees, was the recipient of the Friend of Earth Stewardship Award during Campbellsville University’s celebration of Earth Day April 21 at the Turner Log Cabin.

Dr. John Chowning, executive assistant to the president for government, community and constituent relations, presented the award to Osborne, for his devotion to an ethic of earth stewardship and preservation and proper use of God’s creation.

The Friend of Earth Stewardship Award was established by Chowning and his wife, Cathy.

Chowning said Osborne is a dedicated member of the CU Board of Trustees where he serves as the chair of the Building and Grounds Committee.

Chowning said, in this capacity, Osborne always raises questions about the aesthetic appeal of the campus, preservation of the environment, minimization of runoff, and sustainability and best practices as the university constructs and renovates buildings and accentuates the natural environment of the campus.

During his tenure as Mayor of Campbellsville, Osborne was a leader in finding a balance between the need for economic growth, as the community worked to rebuild its economy from the loss of jobs, while working to protect the environment and the beauty of the community and region.

From left George Howell and Shelby White interact during the Earth Day ceremony at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Brooklyn Kassinger)
From left George Howell and Shelby White interact during the Earth Day ceremony at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Brooklyn Kassinger)

“As a valued City Council member and continuing his work after retiring from the Council, Paul has been a key leader in the work to develop walking and running trails in our city and county and has been instrumental in the development of the Trace-Pitman Trail project,” Chowning said.

Osborne thanked the university, after accepting the surprise award, and said, “We have an obligation to preserve and improve this earth for our children and our grandchildren.”

“I am very, very much an Earth Day type person. Get off the couch, get out in the open, get out in the fresh air, get out in the community and enjoy what God has given us and blessed us with,” he said.

Four students also received awards; these were presented by Amy Berry, environmental educator and instructor in environmental sciences.

Amy Berry, environmental educator and instructor in environmental sciences, presented the George Howell Earth Stewardship Awards which involves monetary awards to help students carry out projects.

Howell, who lives in Gautier, Miss., and who was present for the Earth Day event, and Edwin Lee White Jr., donated a part of Clay Hill Farm May 7, 1996 with the explicit agreement that the land would be used for environmental and forestry education and research.

Howell established the Earth Stewardship Awards, and Berry, as a recipient of the award last year, along with Sigma Zeta, the science and math honorary society, and the 2017 Freshman OR class, have moved forward with creating pollinator gardens for two area schools and providing signage for the pollinator garden on campus and teaching children that every little green space counts and they can make a difference in making our world a better place.

Dr. Robin Magruder, assistant professor of education, is another recipient of the project based environmental stewardship award.

Berry said Magruder “has been a big supporter of Clay Hill and most recently has been sending her students to create curriculum for and assist with field trips at Clay Hill.”

With this award, she will be able to implement a professional development workshop for current Campbellsville University elementary and middle school pre-service science educators.

Other categories were for essays, art and music.

From left to right Dr. Robin Magruder, associate professor of Education; Amy Berry, Environmental educator and instructor in Environmental Sciences; George Howell; Shelby White; Hannah Dowell; Tanisha Bruce; Paul Osborne, and John Chowning, executive assistant to the President, Government, Community and Constituent Relations, take a group photo after the award ceremony. (Campbellsville University Photo by Brooklyn Kassinger) 
From left to right Dr. Robin Magruder, associate professor of Education; Amy Berry, Environmental educator and instructor in Environmental Sciences; George Howell; Shelby White; Hannah Dowell; Tanisha Bruce; Paul Osborne, and John Chowning, executive assistant to the President, Government, Community and Constituent Relations, take a group photo after the award ceremony. (Campbellsville University Photo by Brooklyn Kassinger)

Students Hannah Dowell, a freshman of White House, Tenn.; Tanisha Bruce, a sophomore of Danville, Ky., and Shelby White, a sophomore from Willisburg, Ky., won awards.

Dowell won an award for her efforts in a project dedicated to installing bee hives on Campbellsville University property and joining other universities who are helping to save our declining bee population.

Bruce won an award for her essay on environmental justice, which discussed the ways in which poorer communities were suffering the worst from the pollution in our environment. Bruce was sponsored by Campbellsville University’s Black Student Association. Bruce will be participating in environmental justice training in Louisville.

White’s artwork was awarded “best in nature” and is displayed in the Pence-Chowning Art Gallery.

Student Government Association chief of staff TJ Rayhill, a senior of Campbellsville, was the master of ceremonies for the event.

Chowning said Campbellsville University has been celebrating Earth Day each year since 2010, which marked the 40th anniversary of the very first Earth Day, which occurred on April 22, 1970.

Chowning said he was a college freshman during this time, and he, along with some others, organized a celebration. He noted the vital movement inspired some important changes in legislation during the ’70s, including efforts to preserve clean air and clean water.

“We still have work to do,” Chowning said, “and we must not let down.”

Susie Walters, on right, helps George Howell, to put on the butterfly wings at the Earth Day ceremony at Campbellsville University. ((Campbellsville University Photo by Tomomi Sato) 
Susie Wilson, on right, helps George Howell, to put on the butterfly wings at the Earth Day ceremony at Campbellsville University. ((Campbellsville University Photo by Tomomi Sato)

Earth stewardship, Chowning said, is extremely significant to the Christian faith.

“We are merely stewards of that which we have been granted by God,” Chowning said, reading Psalm 24:1-2 which states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”

Nathelie Zetrenne of Decatur, Ga., representing Black Student Association, led the celebration in a prayer.

Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young and Campbellsville Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers read the Earth Day Proclamation. The proclamation addresses the challenges Earth and its inhabitants face today, including food and water shortages, and encourages implementing a sustainable environment and a green economy. This green economy, the proclamation states, can be achieved through educational efforts, policies and activism.

“Let it be known that Campbellsville Taylor County, Kentucky hereby encourage its residence, businesses and institutions to use Earth Day to celebrate Earth and commit to building a sustainable and green economy,” Rogers read from the proclamation.

Katie Cappel, a senior from Dunnville, Ky., who is a research student of Clay Hill Memorial Forrest and active member of Sigma Zeta, gave an update on Clay Hill Memorial Forrest and the research projects students are conducting.

Cappel, who has worked at Clay Hill for about two years and won the award for best speaker at the Sigma Zeta National Convention, has been conducting research on bats through a bat recorder in order to help her identify different species of bats.

Cappel mentioned other students conducting research on different forms of wildlife at Clay Hill. Alli Neireiter, a senior from Lebanon, Ky., is studying bobcats and other mammal activities at Clay Hill.

Paul Osbourne, gives word of thanks after receiving the Friend of Earth Stewardship Award during the Earth Day Celebration at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker) 
Paul Osbourne, gives word of thanks after receiving the Friend of Earth Stewardship Award during the Earth Day Celebration at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

Bethanie Webb, a senior of Staffordsville, Ky., president of Sigma Zeta, is conducting salamander research at Clay Hill by tagging and releasing individual salamanders in order to continue collecting data.

Nicole McCamish, a senior of Elizabethtown, Ky., is conducting research on the different species of birds by listening to the sounds that they make or by what they look like. She also researches to determine which birds prefer certain trees or habitats.

Mikayla Bishop, a junior from Greensburg, Ky., studies tree species and tracks the tree growth.

Sigma Zeta holds different events and programs for the community in which to participate. Once a month, they hold “Science Saturday” at downtown Campbellsville’s Dog-Eared Books for children to come and participate in science activities. They have also attended the local middle school to speak with the kids about science, answer any questions they may have and to encourage them to continue pursuing what they love.

“Sometimes the best place to connect with God is in nature,” Rayhill said. “We have so much nature here in Taylor County. One of the best places is Clay Hill.”

Raven Johnson, on right, helps a student from Kentucky Christian Academy to plant a sapling during the Earth Day ceremony at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Tomomi Sato) 
Raven Johnson, on right, helps a student from Kentucky Christian Academy to plant a sapling during the Earth Day ceremony at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Tomomi Sato)

Rayhill said much of Clay Hill would not be possible without the Kentucky Heritage Land Conversation Fund, of which Dr. Richard Kessler, associate professor of biology/environmental studies program coordinator, is the chair.

Carla Goldsmith, area retail operations manager for LG&E/KU,
spoke on behalf of Kentucky Utilities and shared the company’s recent environmentally friendly endeavors and to announce that their “Plant for the Planet” program will award one-year grants of $500-$5,000 for Urban, suburban or rural projects in forests and parks, along parkways or roadways.

Campbellsville receives a $5,000 grant through the program from Kentucky Utilities to support its Trail of Trees program.

The “Plant for the Planet” program was launched to support Kentucky’s tree population.

“We recognize that trees are among our community’s most beneficial, valuable and beautiful assets,” Goldsmith said. “They grace our landscape, provide cooling shade from the hot sun and give food and shelter to birds and wildlife.”

Goldsmith said last year Kentucky Utilities announced their plans to install 20 electric vehicle-charging stations throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky and have installed five, which are stationed in public access areas, such as street parking, parking lots and outdoor areas.

Kentucky Utilities also received approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission to develop a “community” solar facility in Shelby County. This facility will benefit customers who want to support local solar, but cannot install on their own property.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 5,000 students offering over 80 programs of study including 19 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs. The university has off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset and Hodgenville with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

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