UT Health Center seeking older adults to help teach middle-school students about environmental issues

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A new federal grant will give area seniors an opportunity to share knowledge of East Texas environmental issues with middle-school students in Tyler and Longview.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler an educational grant to train senior adults how to teach middle-school students about environmental issues.

Larry Lowry, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Occupational Health Sciences, oversees the grant. The program, “Intergenerational Training - Seniors to Middle School Students,” will pay for a day-long training session where East Texas seniors will learn about environmental issues such as air and water quality and how to identify potential toxins in the home.

The free training will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Ornelas Activity Center, 4302 Old Omen Road in Tyler. Senior Ambassadors from the Denton Texas Chapter of the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement will conduct the training. Lunch will be provided.

After they’re trained, teams of three seniors each will share their knowledge with students in after-school programs and other settings. The seniors will use hands-on demonstrations to involve students in the learning process.

“No experience in teaching is required to volunteer, just an interest in helping students develop a healthy respect for the beautiful East Texas environment,” Dr. Lowry said.

Helping students learn about the environment will also benefit volunteers, he said.

“Maintaining an active lifestyle after retirement is the key to staying healthy, which is the purpose of UTHSCT’s Center for Healthy Aging. This experience will be an opportunity for seniors to meet new people who share their interests,” Dr. Lowry said.

The EPA grant is for $15,914, including $4,000 worth of in-kind contributions provided by the Health Center.

For more information, call Dr. Lowry at (903) 877-5717, e-mail him at larry.lowry@uthct.edu.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.