The Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club is the first in the nation to develop a unique program that offers grants to Kansas primary and secondary teachers to help them improve education about the nature of climate change.
The recipients of this year's Sierra Club Environmental Grants are:
*Nikki Burnett, Baldwin City School in Baldwin City;
*Joanna Farmer, Metro Meridian High School in Wichita;
*Misty Lambeth, Countryside Elementary School in Olathe;
*Scott Schwartz, Hope Street Academy in Topeka;
*Lesley Sheldon, Rolling Ridge Elementary School in Olathe;
*Blake Smith, Maize South High School in Maize; and
*Dan Whisler, Sterling High School in Hutchinson.
"The quality of applications we received was very high," said Robert F. Sommer, Chair of the Sierra Club Kansas Chapter's Education Grants Committee. "We're especially pleased to see so much geographic diversity from around the state."
Grants go toward a number of activities
The teachers will be able to use their Sierra Club grants for any number of activities, Sommer said. They can buy materials to help students learn by doing with projects to build wind turbines and measure the generation of energy. Or they can be spent to help teachers and students offset the expense of traveling to conferences to study climate change.
"This is the first year we've made these grants," Sommer added. "Already I've had inquiries from other Sierra Club Chapters about establishing similar grants in their states. There's so much at stake with climate change. Carbon dioxide has reached dangerous levels in the atmosphere. Our polar caps are losing exponentially more ice each year. The oceans are acidifying. Wildlife throughout the planet is threatened with extinction. What could be more important that educating students on how to face these challenges?"
The Kansas Sierra Club hopes to expand this grant program in future years.