10-Month Program Covers Regional Differences in Water Resources, Issues
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Brandi Nelson is looking for a few good people – especially those interested in learning more about their environment through a better understanding of water issues and developing their leadership skills.
Nelson, coordinator of the Kansas Environmental Leadership Program (KELP) based at Kansas State University, is recruiting members for the next KELP class, which will begin in February 2013. Since 1999, more than 240 local leaders throughout the state have participated in the program. Sixteen are involved in the current class.
KELP focuses on training class members in leadership skills and water-related issues, Nelson said. Five three-day sessions are held in different parts of the state, with the first in February and the last in October. The program strives to include representatives from all facets of Kansas, including industry, government, agriculture, and both urban and rural communities. Participants can receive college and continuing education credits.
In addition to the five educational sessions around the state, class members choose a project that they implement during the class. As they work on the project, class members glean insights into issues, problems and solutions necessary to initiate and sustain environmental change for the better, she said. Projects typically focus on conserving and extending the life of the High Plains aquifer, watershed restoration and protection, or education about public water supplies.
“We developed a network of individuals with different backgrounds that we can call on as we go about our respective jobs,” said Jenni Carr, Atlanta, Kan., who was a member of that KELP Class of 2010. “The collaboration demonstrated by our group for an Applied Leadership Project (ALP) for the City of Chapman provided an opportunity to make a difference in a small community by educating interested citizens and creating something that will be seen for years in the local park.”
On June 11, 2008 a tornado traveled through Chapman, Kansas destroying parts of the city. As the community was in the process of recovery, the KELP 2010 class decided to assist by educating citizens on best practices for storm water management. A $3,000 grant from the Sierra Club funded its ALP and allowed for the implementation of a demonstration rain garden, distribution of rain barrels, and an educational placard in Chapman. Their objective was to assist Chapman in its “Recovery…One Drop at a Time,” which was the theme for the ALP.
In an effort to improve surface water quality in Kansas streams, another team produced multi-media presentations to inform and educate land users across the state about cost-share assistance available for water quality improvement projects. Team members developed information and collected photos to illustrate resource materials. CDs were produced using the information, photos and appropriate narration. The team planned workshops intended for government agency staff and other participants and worked with county extension staff, conservation district office, and news media to publicize the workshops and CDs.
The priority deadline to apply for the 2013 KELP class is Aug. 31, 2012. The fee to participate covers meeting materials, hotel accommodations (double occupancy) and meals during the training sessions. More information is available on the KELP website or by contacting Nelson at 785-532-3828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Mary Lou Petermlpeter@ksu.eduK-State Research & Extension News
Brandi Nelson – 785-532-3828 or email@example.com