“I like walking anywhere there are wildflowers to identify and enjoy, including at the Dr. and Mrs. Richard Crutcher Nature Preserve where I visit with my siblings, friends and the garden club, and sometimes by myself.” Dottie Cordray
Dottie Cordray is no stranger to Kentucky’s natural landscape after hiking in areas like Boone Creek and Red River Gorge with her three brothers and other friends during her teenage years.
“My mom, who’s family was in the nursery business for seven generations, instilled a love of nature and all things green in me and my siblings,” says Cordray, who resides in Midway. “My father, a supporter of The Nature Conservancy, introduced me to this impressive organization.”
Cordray’s father continued to lead by example into her adulthood when in 1999, he helped The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky acquire land in the Palisades in honor of his wife of 50 years. One of the two properties is adjacent to the Sally Brown Nature Preserve; another is on the other side of the Kentucky River. That October, the Conservancy and guests celebrated the dedication of two parcels now referred to as the Dr. and Mrs. Richard Crutcher Nature Preserve.
According to Cordray, her father’s gesture served as a fitting tribute to his wife, who had devoted so much time to preserving historic homes and gardens in and around Lexington, including as a founding member of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation and as a board member at Shakertown.
“In fact, The Nature Conservancy event continued an ongoing ethic of giving in our family,” says Cordray. “A few years later we marked my mother’s 80th birthday and 45th year with The Garden Club of Lexington by dedicating topiaries in the walled garden at Ashland, which I still maintain to this day.”
Now retired herself, Cordray proudly carries on the passion for Kentucky’s landscape and wildlife passed down by her parents. In addition to participating as a member of The Garden Club of Lexington and raising orchids, she spends time outdoors – including at the nature preserve boasting her family's name – identifying wildflowers and other local flora. An avid gardener, her dedication to her own backyard recently earned a Landscape Preservation Award from the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Like her parents, Dottie is passionate about conservation and a huge fan of the Conservancy,” says Jim Aldrich, former State Director and current Director of Stream and Wetland Restoration at The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky. “She’ll serve as a great ambassador for our organization.”