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New Richmond Utilities awards scholarships to local teachers

New Richmond Utilities has awarded two scholarships to local teachers who attended a renewable energy education training program. The program explored ways to help integrate hands-on learning activities into existing science, math and social studies curricula.

Through the K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP), teachers learn how to enhance students' understanding of what energy is, where it comes from and how it affects their lives. The “Doable Renewables” program takes the instruction one-step further, to help teachers analyze energy information and create strategies and techniques to enhance their students' understanding of renewable energy. Teachers also received a copy of the program’s easy-to-use Energy Education Activity Guide and were introduced to additional energy-related educational materials.

As part of the course, the teachers were able to see first hand the capabilities of renewable fuels, by partaking in tours of area renewable energy facilities. The tours included the Western Wisconsin Energy LLC ethanol plant in Boyceville, WI, and an anaerobic manure digester at Five-Star Dairy in Elk Mound, WI.

The 16-hour course was held over four sessions from November 28 through December 12, 2006 at the River Falls High School. New Richmond Utilities paid the course fees for Connie Roetzer and Elizabeth Erickson, both teachers at East Elementary. Both teachers attending the KEEP training will receive one graduate credit from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

KEEP is a product of a partnership between the Energy Center of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The program was initiated in 1995 to address a gap in student knowledge about energy issues.