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Environmental Education Grants go to 12 teachers

Students in Danielle Whittington’s 4th-grade class at Columbia Elementary used part of their Environmental Education Grant to learn how to plant seeds.

Mississippi Power is once again recognizing teachers across southern Mississippi with Environmental Education Grants for the 2020-21 school year.

A dozen teachers are claiming a share of nearly $19,000 to assist their environmental science lessons with equipment and supplies.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted more than ever just how critical of a role that teachers play in the lives of their students and our communities,” Senior Environmental Specialist Patrick Chubb said. “They’ve continued the learning process, both in-person and virtually, through unprecedented times. We’re proud to support these committed educators and hope these grants will spur creativity and innovation in their classrooms.”

This is the fifth year that Mississippi Power has awarded teachers with Environmental Education Grants. Since the program’s inception in 2015, more than $105,000 has been awarded to more than 200 teachers.

Evelyn McQueen established the Eco Warriors Club at D’Iberville High School last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic. One of their first goals was to increase the amount of recycling by students and staff at the school.

With the Environmental Education Grant that she received in January, the Eco Warriors placed 20 large recycling bins around the school. Classrooms that typically fill their smaller cans a few times a day, the teacher’s lounge and the library were given a 23-gallon receptacle. A 44-gallon recycling bin was placed in the copy room for the large amounts of paper and boxes that the school goes through.

According to McQueen, in January, the school recycled about 1,900 pounds of materials. In February, that jumped to more than 3,200 pounds that was recycled.

“Adding these bins has made recycling more accessible schoolwide, which we anticipate will promote both students and faculty to recycle even more items than before,” said McQueen. “With students eating in the classrooms, they throw their trash away in the hallways. This typically includes their water bottles and milk jugs. With there now being a bin at every water fountain, it has made it much more convenient for them to rinse and recycle all in one spot.”

McQueen added that there is now “nearly a 1-to-1 ratio of trash cans to recycling bins at the school.”

At Columbia Elementary School, Danielle Whittington is using the grant she received to provide hands-on experiences for her fourth-grade students.

“We’ve had to adapt and modify for the last two years due to COVID, so they’ve had fewer chances for real experiences” said Whittington. “Using these grants for things like experiments, replanting trees, watching seeds grow, learning about forces and magnets and more is helping them understand abstract concepts.”

2021 Mississippi Power Environmental Education Grant recipients

Traci Barrientos – Lighthouse Academy
Letha Boudreaux – St. Stanislaus College
Billy Carroll – Moss Point High School
Brandon Davidson – Russell Christian Academy
Melanie Davis – Pass Road Elementary School
Maggie Farrell – Sacred Heart Catholic School
Brandi Hoxie – Popp’s Ferry Elementary School
Evelyn McQueen – D’Iberville High School
Stephanie Singley- Lamar School
Connie Skrmetta – Delisle Elementary School
Victoria Waaga – Pearl River County Endeavor School
Danielle Whittington – Columbia Elementary School

Now in its 96th year of operations, Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and affordable energy for more than 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power recently was a recipient of the Community Partner Impact Award from the Center for Energy Workforce Development for its innovative and ongoing efforts to build a diverse workforce. With nearly 160 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. Visit our website at, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.