This includes pursuing projects and opportunities which allow us to more personally engage our members and others who might not know us as well. That’s because the future of conservation in coming years depends on our ability to inspire and engage valued members, broadening our constituency more than ever before.
Here are some ways we plan on tackling these goals.
- We’re opening a new nature preserve! Thanks to generous support from the preserve’s namesake, we’ll dedicate the new Dupree Nature Preserve later in 2013. Located in the Kentucky River Palisades, this new nature preserve is being designed to engage visitors with PodCast Tours, public trails and picnic facilities, interpretive signage and other elements sure to get people outdoors!
- We’re using our “Outside Voice!” Lessons learned during last year’s legislative session prepared us for generating support for initiatives aimed at securing funds and increasing revenue for the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program and the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and creating incentives for increased private donations of land or easements in order to further protect natural habitats, agricultural lands and open space. We hope you’ll join us in these efforts!
- We’re sprucing up our spaces! We’re pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at two of our office locations, including at our new Kentucky headquarters. This space, located on Woodland Avenue in historic downtown Lexington, provides us with a better street presence and improved parking and public meeting areas ideal for engaging partners and the general public. We are aiming for similar results at the Davis Bend Nature Preserve farmhouse, which serves as the base of operations for our work in the Green River watershed and as an environmental education destination for surrounding schools and communities.
- We’re planting trees . . . lots of trees! Over the past year or so we had the opportunity to acquire four tracts totaling approximately 100 acres along a stretch of the Green River left without any riparian buffer after many years of hard-core logging activities. In 2013, we will plant 28 of these acres with a variety of roughly 13,000 native Kentucky trees. In fact, prepping the areas where the trees are most needed has already begun. This work will go a long way towards re-establishing the bottomland forests that used to be found in Row Bend, benefiting water quality and many freshwater species as well as several species of bats known to inhabit this region.
- We’re taking a bigger is better approach to protecting land! With the 2,438-acre Sturgis Tract permanently protected, we’ve set our sights on Phase II of the Big Rivers Corridor protection project. A second parcel ranks as the #1 priority in the President’s Forest Legacy program and would add an additional 4,285 contiguous forested acres to an already large-scale conservation effort!
- We’re leading the way in corporate sustainability! In 2013, we’ll officially launch the Corporate Sustainability Council to convene Kentucky-based organizations interested in exchanging ideas and information about corporate practices that also support natural landscapes in the state and in other places where they do business. Stay tuned for some exciting initiatives stemming from this partnership with founding members: Lexmark International, Inc., Brown-Forman, Semicon Associates, and LG&E.
- We’re building momentum in the water! We’ll continue our successful efforts to protect lands and waters along the Mississippi River in western Kentucky thanks to additional Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) enrollment opportunities made possible by the new Mississippi River Basin Initiative.