While we await the final signatures from the Governor, I would like to take some time to thank all of our members and supporters, as well as our KCC Partner Groups and Affiliates, for their support this session. We also want to thank our legislative affiliates at Strobo Barkley.
There are several bills still that have now been signed into law, and some still on the Governor’s desk. While we were pleased to see the anti-solar bill HB227 stopped, we were equally disappointed to see that the $5 million in funding (over two years) for the Heritage Land Conservation Fund was swept into the general fund, despite everyone’s best efforts. So we encourage you to find other ways to support your local nature preserves for now by offering to provide volunteer assistance for trail maintenance and please continue to purchase the Nature Plates, as they still need what revenue they do still receive.
To see the latest updates, go to our website for our fully-updated status of House and Senate bills. Members in good standing will also be receiving our full legislative summary booklet once the Governor completes his signatures. So if you are not currently a member and wish to receive the legislative summary, you can join here.
Louisville Earth Walk, Saturday, April 21
And then we hope you will join us in Louisville this Saturday, April 21, for the Louisville Earth Walk! Registration information HERE . Proceeds will benefit KCC’s Foundation and many other great organizations.
Fossil Fuels, Corporations and Liability for Climate Change,
Thursday, April 26
The Kentucky Conservation Committee presents “A Crack in the Shell: Fossil Fuels, Corporations, and Liability for Climate Change.” on April 26 from 7pm-8:30pm at the Thomas Jefferson Church in Louisville. Join Us for an Evening with Kentucky’s Own Carroll Muffett, President, Center for International Environmental Law, Moderated by: Katie Bulinski, Associate Professor, Bellarmine University School of Environmental Studies. Sponsored by Kentucky Conservation Committee, Kentucky Resources Council, Bellarmine School of Environmental Studies, Kentucky Solar Energy Society “KySES”, Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church/Louisville, KY, Louisville Climate Action Network and Strobo Barkley PLLC. Address of Thomas Jefferson Church is 4936 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville, Ky. The event is free and open to the public.
The Work Continues
During the interim session, KCC expects to be engaging members in ongoing projects. The session has left us ongoing work to do in several areas:
- Continuing our work to expand access to solar energy. We will be continuing this work through our partnership with the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance and the new allies we have engaged through the session.
- Supporting funding for land conservation and related issues through the Conserve Kentucky initiative.
- The dialogue on green transportation will continue. Since the transportation funding bill did not pass, the question of how we fund our roads as we grow the market for more efficient cars is a debate which will continue during the interim session.
- We will also be spending the off-session period supporting the state’s pollinator plan and related issues.
- Finally, KCC is currently working with allies on a revised Climate Action Plan for Kentucky.
If you are interested in working with us on any of these projects, please contact us at 502-209-9659.
Honoring Oscar Geralds, Jr.
“Oscar firmly believed that humans were the stewards of God’s creation and spent most of his adult life advocating to make this so.”
KCC regrets to inform their members that one of our great heroes, Oscar Geralds, Jr., passed on Sunday, April 15th, the day after the legislative session concluded.
I have never known a man with more integrity and honor, and I will miss his friendship and his unwavering defense of the Creation we all share. The earth is lucky to have had this humble lawyer in its court. This legislative session, Senator Julian Carroll passed a resolution on the 50th anniversary of the protest hike that brought national attention to the campaign to save the Red River Gorge, where Oscar’s contributions on the issues impacting the Gorge were instrumental toward its protection.
When I moved to Kentucky, I had begun my adventure into environmental advocacy through the local Sierra Club, where I first met Oscar Geralds (learn more about Oscar’s early history in the Sierra Club and his role in helping to save the Red River Gorge here). Oscar opened up his office, and his home, to myself and many other members on a regular basis. Many may not be aware that the Sierra Club in Kentucky literally ran out of Oscar’s downtown Lexington law office for many, many years, where we held newsletter committee meetings, conservation meetings, and the occasional happy hour. (It was often said that ‘it wasn’t a Sierra Club event without red wine’). When Oscar closed the law firm about a decade ago, he continued to open his house to members and friends regularly…whenever anyone in our crew was having a particularly good or bad week, a call would go out for ‘happy hour’ and we all would arrive at Oscar’s place.
My first years in his company were largely spent hiking and backpacking with him. Having served in the Army, he had the stamina to out-hike people far younger than himself, with a slow, steady pace, and could usually outlast most of us young’uns by the end of a full hiking day. He continued to hike well into his 60’s and 70’s, where I watched in amazement to see him boulder-scramble with his walking stick up the steep climbs in parts of the Gray’s Arch loop. I once watched him trip on a root at the beginning of the Koomer Ridge hike where he did a full head-over heels somersault, but dusted himself off and continued to complete leading his group on a 7-mile loop. Two days later, we found that he had broken a rib in the fall. My favorite hike with Oscar was his annual pre-thanksgiving hike at Natural Bridge, hiking up to Natural Bridge and then down via the Sand Gap perimeter trail….a long, somewhat unremarkable 9-mile walk, but a great way to spend an entire day on the trail. Oscar had the hike timed precisely in his notebook, and would adjust and record his timing each year. As the years passed, it became more difficult for him to reach the end of the long trail before dark, but he was always able to finish.
I spent many great adventures backpacking with Oscar as well. He knew all of the best ‘hidden’ places in the Red River Gorge, and would always take his trusty old-school A-frame style Eureka 7 lb. tent and canvas frame pack as his gear of choice.
About a decade ago, the State Nature Preserves Commission arranged to dedicate the trail at Pilot Knob in his name. His remarks to us were somewhere along the lines of asking why we picked such a damn steep trail. To no one’s real surprise though, he decided to hike the 2.5 mile ‘very strenuous’ ascending trail to the overlook that day, to the spot where Daniel Boone first laid eyes upon the Bluegrass Region.
In later years, Oscar and his wife Frankie continued their activities by opening their home volunteers in the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors program, which brings underprivileged youth to the outdoors. Oscar was involved in far too many other activities and accomplishments to mention, but these are the ones I will remember the most.
Oscar was my inspiration and mentor for defending our natural environment. I only hope that through my role with KCC, that I can accomplish a fraction of the great works that he accomplished in his 88 years on this planet. I will miss him dearly.
-Lane Boldman, KCC Executive Director
Services will be held 1 pm Thurs, April 19 at Calvary Baptist Church, 150 E. High Street, Lexington, KY Visitation will be 10 am–12:30 pm Thursday at the church. More information here.