The Catlettsburg refinery was named winner of the Kentucky Excel Beacon Award for exemplary achievements in the category of education for its Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve.
Catlettsburg refinery, through its 360-acre Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve and associated outreach events, introduces students to their natural world in a safe setting while providing real life observations to reinforce the STEM and Next Generation Science Standards-based lessons that local teachers use in their classes.
During the 2018 school year, more than 1,285 students, teachers, parents, and family members from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio attended 22 day-long classes at Savage Branch. Students of all ages were exposed to nature-based educational opportunities
that included a Pollinator Adventure, a Woodland Walk and a Polliwog Pond.
On the Pollinator Adventure, students observed a live honey bee hive and planted more than 1,200 milkweed plants while learning about the flight of the Monarch butterfly. Additionally, the Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve hosted 123 Greenup County Soil and Water Conservation members and associates during their Annual Meeting, 500 fourth-graders from Greenup County during two Greenup County Soil and Water Conservation field days, and the Lawrence County Master Gardeners for construction of the Fallsburg Elementary Monarch Way Station.
Finally, Savage Branch representatives provided a display of nesting boxes and informational posters to over 200 students of the Lawrence County Cooperative Extension Service Annual Field Day.
“It is not uncommon to hear one of the students say, ‘This is the best day ever,’” said Catlettsburg Refinery Advanced HES Environmental Professional Vernon Marcum. “That is quite a compliment for any education-based program. The volunteers are proud of their work at Savage Branch and this award helps recognize the benefit of the programs being offered.”