This month a central Kentucky organization celebrates its 10th anniversary. The group is Bluegrass PRIDE, which stands for Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment. Kentucky Public Radio’s Brenna Angel spoke with Amy Sohner, Executive Director of Bluegrass PRIDE about some of the work the accomplished over the past ten years.
Environmental outreach can cover a lot of areas. What does Bluegrass PRIDE focus on?
“We focus mostly on waste reduction; that includes composting and reducing the waste and recycling. Also water quality improvements, storm water, things like that. And then energy efficiency, so helping people save money on their electricity bills, but also save the amount of electricity that they actually use.”
You have a lot of environmental educators that go out into schools. Tell me about that work.
“One of PRIDE’s main goals is to do pre-K through 12 education in all of central Kentucky. One of our main ways of educating is through experiential education. We don’t just stand up and lecture, we actually have kids do experiments, we have kids to games that are learning in the process.”
How do you approach businesses and convince them to modify some things that would be more environmentally friendly?
“In the city of Lexington we have a really good partnership with the city government and we have a contract with them to do something called the Live Green Lexington partners program. We try to encourage businesses and apartments to make commitments, to make small changes that will actually make a big impact on the environment, and then we recognize them for that. We encourage people to shop at businesses that make commitments for the environment. And that can be everything from starting office recycling programs to actually tearing up their parking lot and putting in pervious pavement.”
What are some of the environmental challenges central Kentucky faces?
“Waste reduction efforts are impeded because there isn’t available curbside recycling in a lot of the counties outside of Lexington. It makes it a lot harder for someone to separate their recyclables and drive them to the recycling center than it is just to put them out on their curb.
Conversely, in more rural areas, the students are a lot more in tune with what water quality means. They often have creeks in their backyard; they often play in them. Whereas if you live in a more urban area, your chances of actually playing in water are a lot more remote.”
What are some of your goals for the future of Bluegrass PRIDE?
“We started out working a lot with waste reduction and water quality and have just recently started energy education and have not been able to do energy education outside Fayette County at all. So really in the next ten years I want to get a much more robust energy efficiency education program going throughout our whole region.”
Bluegrass PRIDE serves Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Nicholas, Powell, Scott, and Woodford counties.
The group is hosting a 10th anniversary celebration concert Saturday Sept.24, featuring JD Crowe and the New South and Balsam Range at UK’s Memorial Hall.