KCC Board of Directors

Dr. Benjamin Knoll (KCC Board President)
Dr. Benjamin Knoll is the John Marshall Harlan Associate Professor of Politics at Centre College in Danville. He earned an B.A. in political science from Utah State University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa with a specialization in public opinion and voting behavior. He is also currently an M.Div. student at Bexley Seabury Seminary. Dr. Knoll’s research focuses on the connection between religion and politics and he recently coauthored the academic book She Preached the Word: Women’s Ordination in Modern America (Oxford, 2018). More information about Dr. Knoll’s academic research is available on his website at www.informationknoll.com and he can be followed on Twitter at @benjaminknoll28.

Dr. Ruth Bamberger (KCC Board Vice President)Ruth-Bamberger_2015_small-web
Ruth Bamberger has served on the Board of the KY Conservation Committee since 2015.  She is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Drury University, Springfield, MO, where she co-directed the Environmental Studies Program and taught Environmental Politics.  She currently lives in the Ohio River town of Ludlow, KY, and led the successful effort there to initiate curbside recycling.  She was president of the Ludlow Historic Society for three years and still serves on the Board.  Bamberger has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1979, and served as its Northern KY Chair for two years;  she is currently Legislative Chair for  the Cumberland Chapter,  working closely with the KCC lobbyists on environmental and energy issues.

Kay_HarkerKay Harker (KCC Board Treasurer)
Kay worked in the Department for Environmental Protection from January of 1985 until her retirement in 2007, serving in the Division of Waste Management, the Division of Water and the Commissioner’s office. Prior to 1985, she taught high school in Kentucky, Florida, and Michigan, worked on a dude ranch in Arizona. Kay has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Austin Peay State University and did post graduate work at the University of Kentucky. She grew up on a large family farm in Tennessee and in retirement lives on a small farm in Franklin County. She has been on the board of the Woods and Waters Land Trust since 2009 and was on the board for the Family Abuse Center for several years.

dickshore2Dr. Richard E. (Dick) Shore
(KCC Board Secretary)
Dick Shore, currently residing in Lexington,  was born in the shadow of John Muir’s own beloved Sierra Nevada, as a boy Dr. Shore hiked and camped in Yosemite and valleys throughout the west coast. His formal education includes a Ph.D in Zoology (Duke 1963) and MBA (Toledo 1974), course work in both ecology and economic. His MBA is in Operations Analysis. He is a Certified Quality Engineer, and in his parallel career capacity has served in both industrial and government organizations. Dr. Shore’s life-long passion for the theatre has enhanced this John Muir presentation which he has given all over the United States enthralling over 31,000 people since 1987.


Don Dott
Don is the recently retired Director of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, where he was the longest-serving Director in the Commission’s history. Under his tenure, the Commission’s protected lands have grown into 63 preserves with 27,897 acres across the Commonwealth. Don’s role as Director of KSNPC included communicating with legislators on the agency’s issues, serving on the Heritage Land Conservation Fund board and coordinating with other state, federal and private conservation partners in Kentucky. Don is an avid outdoorsman and former attorney in the enforcement office of the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet. Don is also currently chairman of the Kentucky Land Trusts Coalition and lives in Shelby County.

Gerry James
Gerry James is the Director of The Explore Kentucky Initiative (EKI), an organization dedicated to inspiring people to engage in an active lifestyle fueled by adventure in Kentucky’s great outdoors. Gerry also serves a steering Committee member of the Kentucky Rural Urban Exchange, public policy liaison for the American Canoe Association’s  Kentucky executive council,  is a widely published outdoor adventure writer/photojournalist, and branding strategist for Mountain Tech Media, a start-up Appalachian based digital media agency.  Gerry strives to advance the fields of adventure tourism, environmental advocacy,  initiatives promoting diversity in the outdoors, photojournalism through an intersectional lens of art, energy, and community. Through this work, he has embedded himself in many Kentucky communities  to work on various projects that tackle social justice, economic, and conservation issues. Recently Gerry was awarded Lexenomics’s Best of the Bluegrass Most Impactful Artist award for visual and socially engaged art. He is working to be accepted to Kentucky State University to pursue a masters of environmental studies starting in the fall semester of 2017.

Dr. Tamara Sluss 
Dr. Sluss is a native of Ashland, Kentucky.  After receiving her degrees (B.S. Biology, M.S. Biology, Ph.D. Environmental Biology) with Dr. Jeffrey Jack at the University of Louisville and teaching at Jefferson Community and Technical College, and is currently an associate professor of biology at Kentucky State University.  Her primary research interests lie in large river ecology, but she has also worked on a variety of projects with students including biomass research, invasive plant species and habitat fragmentation, amphibian surveys, and macroinvertebrate communities in relation to water quality in central KY streams.  At Kentucky State University she teaches a variety of courses including Life Science, Modern Topics in Biology, Environmental Biology, Ecology, Aquatic Ecology, and Population and Community Ecology, a requirement for KSU’s Master’s of Environmental Studies program.  She is the faculty advisor for the Green Society, a student environmental club at KSU, and works with numerous student summer programs.   Tamara loves spending time with her two daughters, Olivia and Harper, as well as rock climbing with her friends in the Red River Gorge and all over the country.


Sarah Lynn Cunningham (KCC Past President)
Ms. Cunningham has the technical problem solving abilities of an engineer, the communication skills of an educator, the creativity of an artist and the passion of an advocate. She holds a Master of Science, Interdisciplinary Studies, with a major in environmental education and a minor in environmental history, Bachelor of Applied Science, Environmental Engineering both from the University of Louisville. She is a certified Professional Engineer and is a graduate of the Kentucky Certified Non-formal Environmental Educator Program. Ms. Cunningham is founder and director of the Louisville Climate Action Network.

William Martin (Director Emeritus)
Bill is the former Chairman of the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund and resides in Lexington. He was formerly Commissioner of the Department for Natural Resources. Bill is Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University, where he was Director of the Division of Natural Areas and Professor of Biology, from 1969 until 2005. Bill is a charter member of KCC, having been there at the inception of the group, and is currently serving as Director Emeritus.