Eastern Kentucky University’s Ryan Green was voted chair of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC) by fellow council members. Green, executive director of budget and financial planning at EKU, was first appointed to the KEEC by Gov. Andy Beshear in 2021.
As chair, Green wants to prioritize a stable funding plan for the agency and bring back programs that were paused during the pandemic, such as the Green and Healthy Schools program. The program, which will be renamed the Green Schools Program, educates K-12 students on sustainability footprint initiatives that can aid school efficiency and environmental impact.
After the flooding in Eastern Kentucky last summer, Green also sees opportunities for partnership between EKU and KEEC to increase environmental education awareness and training toward urgent and emergency responses.
“EKU has long been a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts and the role such efforts should play for students and educators,” said Barry Poynter, EKU senior vice president for finance and administration. “These include the responsibilities of the EKU Office of Sustainability and the Center for Environmental Education within the Division of Natural Areas.”
EKU’s College of STEM and Division of Natural Areas have assisted KEEC and the Kentucky Association of Environmental Education (KAEE) in the past to promote environmental education through professional development programs.
The vision and mission for KEEC is to promote learning and skills for a sustainable and economically healthy environment for all Kentuckians through environmental education.
“I am humbled by the support of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council and appreciative of the service of outgoing Chair Dunahoo along with prior Chair Norton, as well as the hard-working staff,” Green said. “The Council has important work to focus on over the coming months.”
Sarah Cummins was elected vice chair and serves as head of school at Redwood Cooperative School in Lexington.
Members of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council serve entirely as volunteers to oversee the agency's work and are appointed four-year terms by the governor. By statute, membership on the Council must represent four constituencies: businesses and industry, the environment, education and government.