Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Sheila Hall, Tammy Brashears, October 6, 2006

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Dale Johnson for Eastern Kentucky PRIDE...

Segment Synopsis: Dale Johnson introduces Sheila Hall, principal at Cumberland Elementary School, and Tammy Brashears, teacher at Cumberland Elementary School.

Keywords: Cumberland Elementary School (Ky.); Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE)

Subjects: Harlan (Ky.); Harlan County (Ky.)

00:00:20 - History of the PRIDE program

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Partial Transcript: You do have some really nice binders with the photos...

Segment Synopsis: Hall discusses the Campus of the Year Award, and the PRIDE club. Discussion of other school programs such as Green Schools and environmental education. The Kentucky Association for Environmental Education has sent representatives to the schools.

Keywords: Clean-ups; Cumberland Elementary School (Ky.); Federal grants; Grants; Green schools; Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE); Letcher County High School (Ky.); PRIDE Clubs; PRIDE Coordinators; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Sewers

Subjects: Communities; Cumberland (Ky.); Environmental education; Environmentalism; Green-Schools (Program); Harlan (Ky.); Harlan County (Ky.); Kentucky Association for Environmental Education; Letcher County (Ky.); Loyall (Ky.); Sewerage; Teachers

GPS: Harlan County (Ky.);
Map Coordinates: 36.86, -83.22
00:05:45 - Biographical background

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Partial Transcript: I'd sorta like to get on the recording, too, um, both your backgrounds.

Segment Synopsis: Hall discusses her background. She has been working at Cumberland Elementary School since 1992. She started teaching in an empty classroom. Brashears joins the discussion, talking about team teaching with Hall, during which they began to work on environmental education. PRIDE has been an important partner with the school. They devoted a lot of time over a period of five years to develop environmental education in their school. The students sorted materials for recycling. Students cleaned up Black Mountain and the local streams.

Keywords: Aquatic life; Bird watching; Black Mountain (Ky.); Clean-ups; College; College degrees; Creeks; Cumberland Elementary School (Ky.); Federal grants; Field trips; Gardens; Grants; Husbands; Kindergarten; Outdoor classrooms; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Project Life; School boards; Straight pipes; Training; Volunteering; Volunteerism; Volunteers

Subjects: Alluvial streams; Aquatic organisms; Art; Benham (Ky.); Cumberland (Ky.); Degrees, Academic; Elementary school principals; Environmental education; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Families; Harlan County (Ky.); Knott County (Ky.); Lynch (Ky.); Marriage; Music; Outdoor learning laboratories; Recycling (Waste, etc.); School boards; School field trips; Science; Teachers; Teaching; Training; Voluntarism; Water; Water quality

GPS: Black Mountain (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.914167, -82.893889
00:15:07 - Cumberland teachers take over PRIDE from Brashears and Hall

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Partial Transcript: We've been in our roles now--I'm the, uh, principal here, and Tammy the--is my assistant.

Segment Synopsis: Brashears and Hall teamed up with environmental groups to establish partnerships for the school. Their students built bird houses and installed them throughout the area.

Keywords: Bird houses; Children; Elementary school principals; Elementary schools; Litter (Trash); Martin's Fork; Nursing Home Bird Haven; PRIDE Clubs; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Science

Subjects: Bird watching; Environmental education; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Nursing homes; School principals.; Teachers

GPS: Martin's Fork Lake (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.7459, -83.263321
00:18:09 - Student involvement

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Partial Transcript: But now our ki-, our kids have really, really been involved throughout the whole, uh, Harlan County area for years, haven't they?

Segment Synopsis: Cumberland Elementary School students have been involved in environmental initiatives for several years. No matter what content area the students were studying, PRIDE partnered to provide funding to tie content instruction to environmental initiatives. The school built a pond as a natural environment for students to stock with native fish. There was a great deal of community involvement at the height of their PRIDE program.

Keywords: Bass (fish); Bluegill (fish); Christian stewardship; Fish; Frogs; Funding; Fundraising; Hunters; Hunting; Involvement; Kentucky Core Content; Missionaries; Naturalism; Ohio; Oxygen; PRIDE Clubs; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Ponds; Straight pipes; Trout (fish)

Subjects: Education; Environmental education; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Finance; Fund raising; Harlan County (Ky.); Home Depot (Firm); Lowe's (Firm); Science; Wal-Mart (Firm)

00:23:53 - Brashears and Hall think about the time when they were science teachers

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Partial Transcript: That was the hardest job I've ever had to walk away from in my life is that science position.

Segment Synopsis: Brashears and Hall look back on their environmental education careers and reminisce about how exciting environmental education was for their students and for themselves. Students were living lives as young scientists. Parents wanted to know where to buy scientific equipment, because their children wanted these items as gifts.

Keywords: Animals; Bats; Bird watching; Bones; Flowers; Fossils; Passion; Plants; Playgrounds; Playstation; Rocks; Spiders; Water testing

Subjects: Children; Environmental education; History; Hobbies; Mathematics; Science; Students; Teachers; Teaching; Water; Water quality

GPS: Cumberland (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.976944, -82.9875
00:27:48 - Students who care about the environment influence their parents

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Partial Transcript: Well that's, that's one thing that some people have said that they think is happening is that when you get the kids all fired up like that you may--they may have some influence on the parents.

Segment Synopsis: Students influence their parents. These students are the people who will be tomorrow's leaders. It is important to forge connections between young people and their elders. The community, the families, and the schools are a web.

Keywords: Bird watching; Citizens; Congressman Hal Rogers; Government; Hal Rogers; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Rocks; Rogers, Hal; Soil; Training

Subjects: Children; Citizenship; Culture; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; History; Litter (Trash); Nature; Parents; Political science; Rogers, Harold, 1937-; Students

00:31:18 - PRIDE provides resources for teacher education

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Partial Transcript: You know, like we--Tammy and I, in order to be able to offer this type of education, we found we had to have training.

Segment Synopsis: In order to teach these topics, a high level of training is required. The school district's central office sent Brashears and Hall for training due to their heavy involvement in the environmental education program.

Keywords: Awards; Fame; Federal grants; Grants; National Science Teachers Association (NSTA); Oregon; San Diego (Calif.); Soil conservation

Subjects: Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Frankfort (Ky.); National Science Teachers Association

00:34:43 - Hall and Brashears provided free labor after school hours

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Partial Transcript: And understanding husbands.

Segment Synopsis: There is an outdoor classroom at the school. Harlan County has purchased land that was in use by the school for the outdoor classroom, and has respected the school's use of the space.

Keywords: Aquatics Center; Free labor; Funding; Gardens; Looney Creek (Ky.); Outdoor Classroom Center

Subjects: Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Outdoor learning laboratories; Unpaid labor

GPS: Looney Creek (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.9786438, -82.9884696
00:37:40 - [Interruption]

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Partial Transcript: Hello.

Segment Synopsis: Interruption--the interview participants consider lunch.

Keywords: Lunches

Subjects: Luncheons

00:38:07 - Other PRIDE grants at Cumberland Elementary School

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Partial Transcript: But, no, uh, like we were saying, our teachers in the science lab did not apply for the grants this year, but our other science and math teachers have appri-- applied for math grants and science grants, higher level through PRIDE.

Segment Synopsis: Other math and science teachers are now starting to apply for advanced grants through PRIDE. Because of school consolidation, middle school students are now using the outdoor classroom facilities. Older students are starting to mentor the younger students.

Keywords: Collaborate; Identify plants; Mentors; Mentorship; Middle schools; School consolidations

Subjects: Environmental education.; Mentoring; Mentoring in science; Middle school education; Schools--Centralization; Teaching teams

00:39:48 - Other teachers continue their work

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Partial Transcript: The, um--when I was talking to Lakis, it--he seemed to s, say to me that a lot of schools in the county are doing recycling.

Segment Synopsis: Cumberland School had the first environmental center in the district, and Hall and Brashears have collaborated with other schools to help develop grants. PRIDE awarded a great number of grants for environmental education.

Keywords: Bird watching; Clean-ups; Grant writing; Grants; Outdoor classrooms; PRIDE Clubs; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); School systems; Straight pipes

Subjects: 4-H clubs; Communities; Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Harlan County (Ky.); Outdoor learning laboratories; Recycling (Waste, etc.); Schools; Virginia

00:42:51 - Folklorists get people to celebrate their community

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Partial Transcript: When you say 'being a folklorist' you're talking my language.

Segment Synopsis: Folklorists try to get people to take pride in their own community and to nurture it. Giving students an awareness for the land, they begin to develop respect for the environment and for people. PRIDE has joined forces with Operation UNITE as an extension of environmental pride toward caring for people who are addicted to drugs.

Keywords: Ethics; Morality; Morals; Operation UNITE; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education (UNITE)

Subjects: Communities; Culture; Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Folk artists; Folk music; Music; Musicians; Native Americans; Nature; Politics, Practical

00:45:45 - The breakdown of the family unit

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Partial Transcript: What do you think happened up there?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewees say that the breakdown of families happened when both mother and father had to leave and go to work. Families always sat down and ate a meal together. Life is too fast-paced now. There were no discipline problems with the PRIDE club.

Keywords: Coal miners; Coal mining; Computers; Cost of living; Discipline; Electric bills; Environment; Fathers; Food; Gender roles; Mothers; Movies; Nature; Needs; PRIDE Clubs; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Video games; Working families

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining; Cost and standard of living; Discipline; Families; Gender and society; Motion pictures; Nature

00:47:40 - Families cannot afford to live on one income

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Partial Transcript: The se--I've been to some of these PRIDE clubs, you know, starting--

Segment Synopsis: The interviewees say that kids are starved for the environmental club activities. Now it takes two members of the household to pay for a subsistence lifestyle. When the family structure breaks down, people have no respect for the environment. People in Hall's grandparents' lifetime used to live off the land. Homes were heated with wood, and there was no electricity. Water came from a well. Living off the land gives people a love of the land.

Keywords: Appalachia; Appalachian people; Chickens; Coal; Coal stoves; Electricity; Grandparents; Maple syrup; Mountain folk; Self-sufficiency; Smokehouses; Summer; Wood; Wood stoves

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Appalachians (People); Children; Fayette County (Ky.); Indiana; Jefferson County (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Pine Mountain (Ky.)

00:54:09 - Schools taking on the role of the family in teaching children morals

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Partial Transcript: But you know, uh, you were talking about family structure.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewees say that throughout America, the parents no longer teach morals and ethics. Students are learning this at school. There was so much enthusiasm among the students due to environmental education. There is a cabin behind the school, which Hall and Brashears would like to use to teach the cultural processes of the past, without electricity. People are losing sight of the past. The school has the facilities to make students aware of their heritage. It is Kentucky Core Content that they are teaching in a hands-on situation. There are eleven schools in the district, and Cumberland Elementary School is furthest away from the center of Harlan County. Gas prices are prohibitive, preventing other schools from using the facilities.

Keywords: Art and humanities; Community; Gas; Harlan Women's Club; Kentucky Core Content; Morality; Morals; Passion

Subjects: 4-H clubs; Ancestors; Art; Communities; Culture; Educators; Environmental education; Ethics; Folklore; Heritage; Kentucky; Lectures; Log cabins; Music; Students; Teachers; Tradition; Transportation

01:00:45 - Community outreach

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Partial Transcript: Yeah. When we, when we were actually running the outdoor center ourself and in the science lab positions, we did.

Segment Synopsis: Hall and Brashears discuss some of their community outreach initiatives that came out of their work with PRIDE.

Keywords: Black Mountain (Ky.); Community; Harlan County Leadership Conference; Harlan Women's Club; Outdoor classrooms; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE)

Subjects: Communities; Environmental education.; Harlan County (Ky.); Outdoor learning laboratories; Women--Societies and clubs

GPS: Black Mountain (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.914167, -82.893889
01:02:38 - Outlook for the future

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Partial Transcript: Is there--what do you see yourself doing in the future as far as this?

Segment Synopsis: Hall and Brashears discuss the achievements of their students while showing a photo album. Their classroom had glow in the dark constellations that would light up. The students were photographed for Kentucky Coal Mining Museum promotional materials. Students raised many animals, from chickens to butterflies. Johnson discusses his college life and mentors when he studied folklore. Hall explains how their science activities meet the Kentucky educational standards. Other activities for the students included bird watching and care, and caring for the aquatic environment.

Keywords: Aquatic centers; Art; Bird houses; Bird sanctuaries; Bird watching; Birds; Books; Butterflies; Butterfly gardens; Camps; Chickens; Clean-ups; Creeks; Cumberland Elementary School (Ky.); Erosion; Fish; Folklore; Forestry; Future; Gardens; Geology; Ghost stories; Grants; Hands Across the Mountain; Historical and Civics Study Center; Insects; Kentucky Coal Mining Museum; Labs; Mascots; Native plant life; Operation UNITE; Outdoor classrooms; PRIDE; PRIDE Clubs; Photographs; Politicians; Ponds; Presentations; Rocks; Science; Settlement schools; Soil; Stones; Streams; Summer camps; Teachers; University of Kentucky; Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education (UNITE); Water; Water quality; Wetlands

Subjects: 4-H clubs; Aquatic ecology; Civics; Coal mines and mining; Endemic plants; Environmentalism; Folklorists; Future Teachers of America (Organization); Letcher County (Ky.); Log cabins; Pine Mountain (Ky.); Rivers; Subsidies; Western Kentucky University; Wetlands

GPS: Letcher County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.12, -82.85
01:18:09 - Institutional review board interviewee permissions

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Partial Transcript: Well, um, before I go--

Segment Synopsis: Johnson, the interviewer, seeks the permission of the interviewees for the interview that has just taken place.

Keywords: Institutional Review Board (IRB); Oral history

Subjects: Interviews; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky, Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.0307, -84.5040