Posted Monday, November 4, 2013 on KyForward.com
The annual Bluegrass Tomorrow’s Vision Awards Breakfast included more than sticky buns on the menu. Awards were presented to Don Robinson, Ed Burtner, the Kentucky River Thorobred, Knox van Nagell, Bluegrass Greensource, Judy Clabes, the National Park Service’s Rivers Trails Conservation Assistance Program, Kyle Lake and Rebecca Barnes.
Robinson is owner of Winter Quarter Farm and is best known for breeding multiple Eclipse Award winner Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year. He won the 2013 Josephine Abercrombie Vision Award for his leadership as chairman of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Planning Commission which made the motion for a change of minimum lot acreage from 10 to 40 acres in agricultural areas.
Ed Burtner is the mayor of Winchester. He has been a major advocate for Bluegrass Station and the Bluegrass Army Depot and is active in many regional organizations and projects He received the Bluegrass Legacy Vision Award.
Other awards were presented for outstanding service to Bluegrass Tomorrow and the 18 surrounding counties to the Kentucky River Thorobred, a Kentucky State University floating laboratory; Knox van Nagell of the Fayette Alliance; Bluegrass Greensource; and a conservation program run by the National Park Service.
The special Robert Clay Award was also presented to Judy Clabes, publisher and editor of KYForward.com, as Bluegrass Tomorrow’s “most valuable” board member and the one who has done the most to improve the organization over the last year.
Passionate about the preservation and protection of precious Bluegrass soils and the equine/agricultural industry, Robinson is a director and past president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, and the Fayette County Farm Bureau. He is currently chairman of the Fayette Alliance.
Burtner has been a board member of Bluegrass Tomorrow and the Bluegrass Area Development District. He has been very active in the United Way and the regional Public Policy Group facilitated by Commerce Lexington which advocates for many regional issues including education, drug abuse, the Kentucky River, the water supply and others.
KSU’s Kentucky River Thorobred floating laboratory is a unique 52-foot pontoon boat used for research on river ecology and environment, and was honored with the Education Vision Award.
Bluegrass Greensource (formerly PRIDE) won the Green/Sustainability Vision Award for its excellent and continued work in environmental education and sustainability.
Van Nagell of the Fayette Alliance was honored with the Equine/Agriculture Vision Award for her tireless work in protecting precious Bluegrass soils and advocacy on more than 65 major land use policies.
Russell Clark and Alison Bullock of National Park Service’s Rivers Trails Conservation Assistance Program won the Conservation/Preservation Vision Award for their work with the Kentucky River Water Trail Alliance and the Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback Trails Alliance, important initiatives of Bluegrass Tomorrow.
Kyle Lake of Prosper Productions and Rebecca Barnes of Northwestern Mutual won Young Professionals Vision Awards for their tireless work with young professional organizations and projects in the region and promoting the Bluegrass Tomorrow philosophy of “developing an environment in the region where creative talent, young professionals, diversity and entrepreneurship will thrive.”
From Bluegrass Tomorrow
Fourth grade students in Frankfort and Franklin County have been making a big impact in their environment. As part of a project with Bluegrass Greensource and the Franklin County Solid Waste Administrator, students in seven city and county schools have had the opportunity to learn about litter in their classroom, and then applied that to their own environment.
Students at Bridgeport Elementary, Collins Lane Elementary, Elkhorn Elementary, Good Shepherd School, Hearn Elementary, Peaks Mill Elementary and Second Street School all worked with a Bluegrass Greensource educator in their classroom to learn about pollution and how it affects our local environment. Using an Enviroscape model to demonstrate a landscape, students first learned what a watershed is and what watershed they lived in. Students then identified various types of point source and nonpoint source pollutants found within that watershed. Using items to symbolize litter, animal waste, and oil from cars, students saw where those pollutants came from and where they can end up as stormwater and move through their watershed. After identifying the various types of pollution in the environment, students then brainstormed best management practices, or ways they can reduce and clean up those pollutants.
Following the classroom demonstration, students then met again with educators from Bluegrass Greensource to do a project on their school grounds. Using the information they learned, the students made maps of their school grounds, and used the maps to track where they found litter, motor oil and stormdrains around their own school. Students then put their best management practices into action and collected litter from their school grounds. While doing the project, students were surprised to find more litter than they expected. Students also became more aware of stormdrains and how stormwater affects their environment, and many classes chose to display their litter maps in their schools to educate other students and teachers about litter.
Bluegrass Greensource enjoyed this collaboration with Franklin County Public Schools, Frankfort Independent Schools, and Good Shepherd School. Greensource is so proud of the impact these fourth grade students made in their community!
Over the past three years, dozens of local governments, nonprofit organizations, and schools in Central Kentucky have implemented environmental education and improvement projects with the help of Bluegrass Greensource’s mini-grant program. Through a partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission, Greensource was able to offer this grant program to seven counties in its service region – Clark, Estill, Garrard, Lincoln, Madison, Montgomery, and Powell. Since 2010, the mini-grant program has provided over $330,000 in funding for 61 projects, ranging from outdoor classrooms to cleanups to innovative demonstration projects. Unfortunately, funding for the grant program ended in August 2013, but Greensource has been able to fund some exciting projects in the past few years!
Madison County Conservation District constructed a fallen livestock composting pad at EKU’s Meadowbrook Farm. The composting facility is available for tours by student and professional groups, and its purpose is to provide farmers with an innovative, economical, and sustainable option for addressing the problem of fallen animal disposal.
Lower Howard’s Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve in Clark County cleared invasive plant species on a five acre section of the property and purchased signage in preparation for the opening of its first public nature trail. The 2.8 mile out-and-back John Holder Trail was dedicated in the spring of 2012.
Garrard County Fiscal Court developed a walking trail along Lancaster City Lake, and recently planted 900 native redbud and dogwood trees along the path.
Estill County Cooperative Extension District held a home composting workshop for 46 community members. Participants learned how to compost their kitchen and yard waste, and each household in attendance took home a free countertop compost bin.
EKU installed a 1.6 kWh expandable solar panel system on the roof of the New Science Building, along with a real-time energy production logging and display system that will allow students to monitor the system’s energy output.
Lincoln County 4H worked with Crab Orchard Elementary students to establish a garden behind the school. The garden club planted strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, beans, potatoes, corn, squash, and kiwi. The dedicated students met weekly over the summer to care for their plants and harvest their crops.
Some additional outcomes of the mini-grant program include:
- Development of 12 outdoor classrooms, school gardens, rain gardens, and educational wetlands
- Development of 1 city park on a former brownfield
- Energy efficiency upgrades in 15 public buildings, including schools and a local recycling center
- Installation of solar panels on 1 rural animal shelter
- Execution of 5 environmental education workshops for educators
- Cleanup and restoration of 1 illegal dumpsite
- Installation of recycling infrastructure at 7 marinas on Herrington Lake
- Purchase of materials for 1 local farmer’s market
- Installation of 5 water bottle refilling stations at Eastern Kentucky University
Bluegrass Greensource is proud to have been able to support these projects and many others. These projects are wonderful examples of the efforts that communities in central Kentucky have made to reduce their environmental impact in recent years!
Grant funding through this program is currently unavailable. For more information on past mini-grant projects, please contact Sandy@bgGreensource.org.
“One of the best, educational, thought provoking tours I have taken in 25 years of teaching,” said one teacher after having participated in Bluegrass Greensource’s fourth annual energy tour, sponsored by the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence.
Teachers from Central Kentucky joined BGGS for two days of touring sites related to renewable and nonrenewable energy. The tour gave teachers firsthand experience with a variety of energy resources and facilities and deepened their knowledge of the content they are teaching for the Next Generation Standards.
Dr. Bruce Pratt of Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies started the tour with an overview of energy sources used to produce electricity, and the pros and cons of each. Harlan County High School was a popular stop on the tour with its renewable energy features. The school has incorporated many high performance energy features, such as: day lighting, geothermal HVAC, energy recovery units, low-E insulating glazing, occupancy sensors on lighting, high efficiency lighting, and light colored roofing.
Teachers also learned about coal extraction while touring TECO Coal in Hazard. After a training session, teachers were taken into a deep mine shaft and had the opportunity to view the mining process firsthand. The history and impact of the coal industry in Harlan County was highlighted during a Kentucky Coal Mine Museum tour led by retired miner Al Feher.
The tour is intended to broaden teachers’ knowledge of energy-related topics while providing a balanced and unbiased view of each resource.
During this school year, Greensource Educators will be working with each teacher who participated in the tour to offer energy lessons and plan energy related field trips for their students. For more information, contact Pattie Stivender at pattie@bgGreensource.org.
As the weather gets cooler, rain gardens are starting to die back above ground. Yet under the ground, the roots are still very much alive, absorbing water and nutrients to help the plants survive the long winter ahead. Now we can sit back and dream of our rain gardens that will grow next spring and summer.
That is exactly what many homeowners that attended one of our recent rain garden workshops hosted in Jessamine, Scott, and Bourbon Counties will be doing this winter. Not only did participants of these workshops learn about rain gardens, but they were also encouraged to design a rain garden for their property and apply for a grant to help turn the design into a reality. All grant applications are due back to Kara Sayles at kara@bgGreensource.org by Monday, November 18th.
Our goal for the workshops was to help citizens create a successful rain garden in their yard that will thrive for years to come. The workshops showcased what rain gardens are, why they are beneficial, and how to construct one. They also included a hands-on component, led by local nursery professionals that involved planting a garden. These professionals are still available for consultations to our workshop participants on their rain garden design and/or show them which plants will work best for specific yard conditions.
The workshops filled up quickly and were a huge success. We will be conducting a similar round of workshops in Woodford, Clark, and Madison Counties next Fall. We encourage residents of those counties to check back regularly for information about these workshops on our web page at www.BGgreensource.org/rain-gardens/.
We would like to give a huge thank you to the Kentucky Division of Water for supporting our rain garden program in these six counties. We also thank the following organizations for partnering with us during this adventure: UK’s Agriculture Extension Offices, Springhouse Gardens, Shooting Star Nursery, Ruddles Mill Nursery, Eco Gro, CDP Engineers, and the Scott County Conservation District. Your help was crucial in making this round of workshops so successful!
Check out the article Kendra Peek, from The Advocate Messanger, wrote about a water conservation project we worked on in Mercer County with 8th graders from King Middle School. Great example of community partners coming together and making things happen…
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