Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Newly certified Master Environmental Educators to be recognized May 14

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 14, 2015  
Contact Information:   

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 14, 2015) –Twenty environmental educators from across the Commonwealth will be certified as master environmental educators at a ceremony in Frankfort today.


All master environmental educators have completed the state’s rigorous Professional Environmental Educator Certification (PEEC) course and at least six subsequent years of continuing education. The course is offered by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.


The PEEC course, with more than 150 graduates since the program was launched in 2004, is based on national guidelines designed to professionalize the field of environmental education by standardizing best practices. The Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education are produced by the North American Association for Environmental Education.


“I was a relative newcomer to Kentucky when I joined the 2005 PEEC course, and the networking opportunities provided to me were immeasurably beneficial,” said Elizabeth Schmitz, now the executive director of the KEEC.


“In addition to numerous resources and contacts, I gained a much better understanding of environmental education best practices – most importantly, the role of the environmental educator in illuminating the complexity of environmental issues without advocating for a particular viewpoint.”


The following people will be certified as master environmental educators:


Jennifer Adler and Ashley Osborne, Bourbon County

Billy Bennett, Clark County

Jimena Bertschi, Berkley, California

Debbie Bramlage, Elizabeth Schmitz and Carroll Young; Franklin County

Mary Kate Dickerson, Boone County

Amanda Gumbert, Fayette County

April Haight, Rowan County

Doug McCoy, Spencer County

Cheryl Messenger, Peggy Nims and Debra Spillman; Barren County

Jenny Howard Owen, Woodford County

Amanda Patrick, Allen County

Melinda Wilder, Madison County

Belinda Wilkins-Smith, Green County

Sonya Wood Mahler, Trigg County

Martha Yount, Breathitt County


“In the academic context, environmental education (EE) is a fantastic approach for helping teachers and students connect classroom topics and lessons to real life,” said Master Environmental Educator Jenny Howard Owen, who has participated and taught the course. “Outside the classroom, EE offers us tools for understanding how our daily lives and communities are directly affected by and connected to the natural environment.”


For more information about the PEEC course, visit or contact Elizabeth Schmitz at or 502-564-5937.