For many, retirement represents a time to slow down a little and settle into a familiar routine. However, as Louisville residents Ken and Nonie Palmgreen set sights on wrapping up their careers, they have already begun laying down the groundwork for picking up the pace in other ways.
“Last year we became preserve monitors for The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky,” says Ken, who retires at the end of 2012 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for a non-profit that assists naval operations and private sector companies with sharing mutually beneficial technologies.
Every other month, Ken and Nonie, an educator, visit the Conservancy’s Pine Creek Barrens preserve to observe, record and report on conditions. Another couple, Bill and Carolyn Phillips, performs the duties during interim months.
“We walk the main trail from end to end to check for evidence of trespassing, vandalism, damage from ATVs or garbage,” says Ken. “We also keep an eye out for non-native plant species and make notes of any wildlife of interest or significance.”
Although the Palmgreens have been members of The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky since the 1980’s, with Ken serving on the Board of Trustees, they have just recently felt more urgency to become more involved in a deeper, more personal way. In addition to their volunteer duties, over the past year they attended an informational meeting about the Big Rivers Corridor Project and a “Rivers for Life” event featuring the Conservancy’s lead scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan. They also have a canoe trip on the Green River and a preserve monitor and steward workday on their calendar.
“We’ve supported many conservation and other non-profit organizations over the years, but the Conservancy is where we are most active right now,” says Palmgreen. “With my zeroing in on retirement and Nonie a couple of years away as well, we’re setting the stage for giving more time towards preserving Kentucky’s unique places and especially the quality of its waterways.”