Archived Story

Thanks to Radney Elementary

Published 7:56pm Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear Editor:
Last week, students at Radney Elementary School had the privilege of meeting Mr. Lance LeFleur, Director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in their classroom.  He spent a full day with two separate groups of Mrs. Laurie Barrett’s 5th-grade gifted students and took two hikes on trails in the 60-acre woods behind the school.
A few months ago we invited Mr. LeFleur to observe the environmental education program conducted by Lake Watch volunteers since 2010.  He had wonderful exchanges with students and observed short skits about what they had learned the past year and stated, “It was an honor to spend time with such delightful, gifted young people.  They clearly care deeply about our environment.”
During the trail hikes, Mr. LeFleur enjoyed seeing the various interpretive signs and numerous “cookie” trail markers…2”x12” slices of trees the kids had painted and mounted on PVC poles to mark the trails.  The kids call them “lollipops”…an appropriate description.
He observed several Eagle Scout projects in the woods…clusters of benches (“reflection stations”), an 18-ft x 24-ft covered outdoor classroom with picnic tables, two wooden bridges across small streams, numerous log bridges, ropes to assist in crossing the stream, and a new cable bridge the kids tested and enjoyed.
Mr. LeFleur summed up his visit this way.  “The teacher, Laurie Barrett, has instilled a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature.  Most importantly, she has helped them look beyond themselves to a larger world.”
We are proud to be part of a program that was selected by the Environmental Educator Association of Alabama as the state’s “Best Environmental Education Program” in 2012.  None of the success could have been accomplished without the dedicated efforts of Laurie Barrett and the fine support of Principal Todd Haynie and Superintendent Daryl Cooper.  And of course the great help from volunteers Tom & Pat Lynch and Raymond & Zelma dePasquale.

Dick & Mary Ann Bronson