Elliot County Welcome Center

 

The Center was constructed five years ago; funded in part by the Steele-Reese Foundation.


This 3400 square foot facility has twenty-seven in-house educational exhibits that cover the regionís rich cultural and natural heritage. Exhibits are correlated to the Kentucky Program of Studies and Core Content. In addition, the center has a 900 square foot classroom equipped with modern investigative field equipment. This facility and the surrounding environment provide excellent educational opportunities for both field and classroom studies. Last year, teachers from seven Eastern Kentucky counties brought more than 3000 K-6 students to the Center and trail for hands on programs to enhance their classroom teachings. Using 2004 statistics we estimate our target audience to be approximately 17,000 students grades 1-6 within one hour drive to the Center. The target population lives in ARC designated distressed counties. There is no comparable environmental education center close to these students.


In addition 432 adults attended organized educational programs. These numbers do not reflect the countless visitors that receive personal one-on-one information about the environment when they visit the Center or special interest groups such as cub scouts and girl scouts.


The trail is a two mile enticing outdoor education and recreation area. It twists and turns through three forest types, meanders down the hill under a canopy of hemlocks and rhododendron to Laurel Creek and ascends to the cliff-line. The first portion is accessible to everyone and is often used by people confined to wheel chairs, mentally impaired, elderly, and those with limited mobility. The next addition will be educational stations incorporating Braille for the vision impaired


There are three certified non-formal environmental educators in Elliott County . They plan and present programs correlated to the Kentucky Program of studies and Core Content using the environment as an integrative context for learning. Since two of them have other professional careers, they can devote only little time to programs held at the Center. To date the Center has not been marketed as an educational resource due to the lack of professional educators but the number of visiting teachers and students is increasing as more educators learn about it by word of mouth. The programs are multi and interdisciplinary and cover a multitude of topics from biodiversity to cultural foods. The volume of requests for programs is becoming unmanageable for the number of available volunteers.


The Elliott County Fiscal Court employs one part time manager at the Center.






 
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