The Importance of Biodiversity: Those of us at KCC have been spending the past few weeks getting out in the public at spring events,  reflecting on the session, and finding new ways to add value to our connection with our constituents. Last month we had the pleasure of attending several public events, including the Kentucky Green Living Fair in Somerset, the Green Festival in Springfield, and other opportunities where we could make our way across the state. We met with native plant nurseries, beekeepers, solar companies and others who represent the issues we support. One of the vendors I encountered, Salamander Springs, was selling heirloom corn and I was fascinated with the story behind it…because it reminded me why protecting Kentucky’s unique biodiversity is not just about protecting a species, but also about preserving a culture and a way of life. These seeds were cultivated from a strain dating back to the 1800’s, improved by farmer Daymon Morgan. I may have met Daymon at one time or another, as he was very active in conservation circles before he passed a few years ago.

But what I do remember was the Leslie County hollow in which he lived. This was diverse hollow, once rich with clear streams and native plants. I visited this hollow on a regular basis for many many years, hiking the roads, studying the streams and observing over time the impacts created by a massive mountaintop mine operation as it slowly devoured tracts within the hollow over the course of a decade. I often hear the criticism that conservationists are simply folks resistant to change. However in witnessing the change within this hollow, I believe what we are resistant to is losing are the things that contribute to the richness of our very lives. So this spring I am taking some time to be thankful for that richness, plant me some rows of Kentucky Rainbow corn, and reflect on what makes our mission so important.

Climate Change: A few weeks ago we were privileged to co-sponsor, with our partners at Strobo-Barkley, a visit from Carroll Muffett , President of the Center for International Environmental Law and former Kentucky native. Carroll gave a wonderful presentation in Louisville about CIEL’s work on exposing the full history of how fossil fuel companies have masked their research on climate change. If you were not able to join us, you can watch the discussion here. If you would like to read more about the project, exposing internal fossil fuel documents on the climate crisis, click here.

New Tools, New Legislative Summary: KCC focuses primarily on legislative work, and we do not promote specific candidates for office. However we do try to provide our constituents with tools to promote an informed and educated base. So this month, we have included bipartisan information to our list of legislators in the House and Senate, adding where there are currently challengers in those districts. We also have been asked on how legislators voted on specific bills this session, so we are offering you a sneak preview of a bill scorecard from the 2018 session. We have listed all of the bills and resolutions  we ranked as either a “strong support” or “strong oppose” this session, plus a few more, and also indicated how each lawmaker voted. In situations where a vote did not take place, we at least listed the sponsors and co-sponsors.  We hope you will find these new tools helpful.

We are also excited to let you know that our 2018 Legislative Review and Conservation Brief is at the printer now…and will be mailed to current members in good standing in the next week or two. In the meantime, you are welcome to view the digital version below. If you are not yet a member of KCC and would like to receive a print copy, please email us. You are also invited to become a member.

Upcoming Events:

KCC will be at two events this Saturday, May 12: the Bluegrass Birding Festival at McConnell Springs in Lexington from 9-4, and we have also been invited as a special guest speaker at the Evolve Lexington electric vehicle group, who will be meeting on Saturday at the Lexington Main Library from 2-4, 140 East Main Street. We hope to see you at one of these events!

Fundraisers: Help Us Spread The Word! KCC’s charitable foundation, the Kentucky Conservation Foundation, will be participating this month for Kentucky Gives Day, May 22nd. We would very much appreciate if you could help us by spreading the word and invite your friends to support this fundraiser. KCF is the fiscal sponsor for KCC’s educational work. To learn more about Kentucky Gives day, click here.

Our Foundation will also be participating in Birdies for the Bluegrass, a charitable golf tournament held in July. Beginning in June, donors can go online to www.birdiesforthebluegrass.com and pledge to give an amount to your organization for every birdie a professional golfer makes in the tournament. We hope you will help us spread the word in support of our environmental education work through the Kentucky Conservation Foundation.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Mark Your Calendars! KCC will once again be hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, slated for the evening of Thursday, August 30th at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington. Watch this space for details, and if you are interested in being a sponsor for this year’s festival please email us!