Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
Community engagement efforts by University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center (UK-SRC) Community Engagement Core (CEC) resulted in delivery of nutrition and environmental pollution-focused interventions in various communities across Kentucky along with development of educational tools for target audiences ranging from children to older adults. CEC efforts have resulted in an increase in environmental pollution and nutrition knowledge among participants as well as an increase in healthy behaviors, including fruit and vegetable consumption and/or increased physical activity. Community partnerships remain strong as evidenced by an increase in community requests for CEC programs. The forty blackberry bushes planted at the Senior Center produced 42 pounds of blackberries summer of 2019 for seniors to enjoy. There are plans to expand BerryCare to two different counties, one of which includes a National Priority List Superfund Site (NPL).
The 2019 Tanglewood Trail Walking Program, which targets fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity among Appalachians, was very well received and remains a popular program with an 89 percent retention rate. Also in summer of 2019, the CEC again offered an environmental pollution and nutrition lesson at a community-implemented youth day camp that featured healthy cooking, farm tours and visit to a farmers’ market. The CEC also expanded day camp evaluation activities to include the week in which kids learned about water ecosystems and being good stewards of the environment. Evaluation activities included short interviews that included a question inquiring what they learned about environmental pollution. Results indicated that camp was a positive experience and willingness to address pollution issues, with an emphasis on water pollution.