“When I saw the Palisades for the first time, it was pretty impressive. We have this canyon in the state that many people don’t know exists.”
As an Assistant Dean in the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, you could say that Steve Workman has stayed true to his roots – which was a family grain and livestock farm in southern Ohio now owned by his brother. While Workman no longer lives on or operates a farm, he does engage in topics ranging from agribusiness and nutrition to water resources and international trade as they impact farmers in Kentucky and around the world.
“Farming wasn’t the most environmentally conscious vocation back when I was growing up,” says Workman. “But over the last decade or so, I’ve watched my brother adopt practices that really improve the natural landscape, especially local watersheds.”
These practices include fencing livestock off from water resources such as lakes and streams, and turning over marginal ground to pasture or grasses in order to reduce erosion. It’s this familiarity with such work that led him to working with The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky when the organizations collaboratively managed and transferred properties to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to permanently protect Griffin Woods, a wildlife management area harboring remaining remnants of bluegrass-savanna woodland existing in the Commonwealth.
“My enthusiasm for this work must have become evident during the Griffin Woods project because it wasn’t long before State Director Terry Cook invited me to serve on the Conservancy’s Kentucky Board of Trustees.”
Indeed, Workman’s participation on The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees helps Terry Cook realize a personal goal of having representatives from the state’s academic community weigh in and collaborate on conservation projects around the Commonwealth. The aim is to foster mutually beneficial research partnerships and staff or intern exchanges that might accomplish results like those realized at Griffin Woods.
“I am amazed at the number and breadth of the Conservancy’s projects in Kentucky,” says Workman. “I look forward to learning more, playing a role in increasing the visibility of this work and to exploring new opportunities for collaboration.”
A native of Ohio, Steve Workman’s academic career led him to Lexington where he is the Assistant Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. Steve holds a BS and MS in Agricultural Engineering from Ohio State University and a PhD in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University. As a professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Kentucky, he has taught courses in groundwater hydrology, irrigation and drainage engineering, land and water resources engineering, and numerical methods. He has won numerous teaching awards and co-authored the textbook “Soil and Water Conservation Engineering,” which is widely used in the United States for teaching hydrology to undergraduate and graduate students. Steve has two daughters. Hannah is a 1st grade teacher in Lexington and Greta is a junior in political economics at Barnard College in New York City. Steve enjoys dancing and is currently the President of the Lexington Traditional Dance Association. He met his fiancee, Joyce Thomas, while dancing and they enjoy traveling across the country to contra dance weekends.