Woodford S. Van Meter, MD is Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine where he is Director of the Cornea and External Disease Service and Medical Director of the Kentucky Lions Eye Bank. Dr. Van Meter has received many professional awards and honors, including the Life Achievement Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2013 and the Paton Award from the Eye Bank Association of America in 2010. He has also been listed in “Best Doctors in America” since 1993 and participated in over 25 international teaching programs with ORBIS International dating back to 1986 in places such as Bagdad, Iraq, Aleppo, Syria and Cuba.
Born and raised in Paris, Kentucky, Dr. Van Meter initially joined the Board of the Kentucky Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in 1986, succeeding his mother who was a trustee prior to that time. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Kentucky Bank, the J B Speed Museum in Louisville, Historic Paris-Bourbon County and several medical boards.
A conservation buyer with the Conservancy, Dr. Van Meter owns protected land in the Horse Lick Creek watershed. When out in nature, he enjoys canoeing, hiking and seeking out wildflowers.
Compost and recycle everything you can!
Nature.org: Have you always had an interest in conservation?
Woodford Van Meter: My parents were very interested in ecology and preservation for as far back as I can remember. We read “Silent Spring,” picked up litter and tried to make people aware of sustainable environmental behavior when I was growing up. We traveled extensively through eastern Kentucky as a child, and I have seen first hand some of the complications of surface mining in Kentucky. I believe that lack of environmental awareness and over-population are two of the biggest problems the world faces today.
Nature.org: What inspired you to become a Trustee member of the Conservancy's Kentucky Chapter?
Woodford Van Meter: I have always believed in the non-confrontational advocacy of The Nature Conservancy, and am honored to be associated with the organization. It evokes the concept: "Think globally, act locally."
Nature.org: Do you have a favorite memory of your time as a Chapter Trustee?
Woodford Van Meter: Boating trips on the Kentucky River through the Palisades on a pretty day showcase the unique scenic beauty of Kentucky at its best!
Nature.org: What are some of your personal goals as a Trustee?
Woodford Van Meter: I believe that we have a window of opportunity now (meaning within the next 25 years) to: 1) conserve and preserve some of the natural areas of Kentucky, like the Palisades, original growth forests and mountain watersheds, before they are forever and permanently altered, and 2) to educate the state's population to appreciate how Kentucky's natural beauty and resources can coexist with sustainable development.