Green Initiatives & Environmental History for: Kentucky
Kentucky was the first region west of the Allegheny Mountains to be settled by American pioneers. James Harrod established the first permanent settlement at Harrodsburg in 1774; the following year Daniel Boone, who had explored the area in 1767, blazed the wilderness trail through the Cumberland Gap and founded Boonesboro.
Politically, the Kentucky region was originally part of Virginia, but statehood was gained in 1792. Gen. Anthony Wayne’s victory in 1794 at Fallen Timbers in Ohio marked the end of Native American resistance in the area and secured the Kentucky frontier.
As a slaveholding state with a considerable abolitionist population, Kentucky was caught in the middle during the Civil War, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with thousands of troops.
Kentucky’s forests are mostly of the oak/hickory variety, with some beech/maple stands. Magnolia, tulip poplar, white pine, eastern hemlock are also common. Rare plants include the swamp loosestrife and showy gentian. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed 9 Kentucky plant species as threatened or endangered, including the rock-cress, running buffalo clover and Short’s goldenrod.
Mammals include the raccoon, muskrat, mink, gray and red foxes, chipmunk, beaver, and flying squirrel. Avian natives include the cardinal, robin, and brown thrasher.
Rare animal species include the swamp rabbit, black bear, raven, and mud darter. Among those that are listed threatened or endangered are species of bat, bald eagle, puma, piping plover, and Kentucky cave shrimp.
At The Kentucky Center, they are committed to demonstrating environmental responsibility through several green initiatives reflecting their dedication to energy conservation and waste minimization. Waste minimization involves recycling glass, paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard. In addition to traditional recycling, The Kentucky Center has also implemented an E-cycling program, safely and responsibly recycling obsolete electronic equipment and properly destroying hard drives onsite. The center encourages employees to maintain digital paperwork, rather than hard copy files, reducing the overall amount of printing. More energy efficient alternatives are being looked at to reduce the energy demand, like installation of LED lights that burn more economically and last longer. They are also working on water conservation by replacing all faucets in restrooms with new, low-flow models to conserve water. They are looking at ‘ occupancy sensors’ that monitor spaces not in use and automatically adjust the temperature. They also use the finest ‘green friendly’ cleaning products.
The state government is working towards greening Kentucky with different initiatives. The Cabinet for Economic Development is working towards eligible projects like lighting retrofits, steam plant upgrades, and waste water treatment facility improvements. Cabinet for Health and Family Services is working towards IT system enhancements to create a paperless client file and electronic banking system to save reams of paper, provide leadership and inspiration for sustainable community garden development. Energy and Environment Cabinet focuses on biofuels and installing biodiesel processing equipment; is working towards Forest Stewardship Programs, Forest Utilization, Reforestation projects; building Energy Code training and development for commercial and residential sectors; launched Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Programs. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is working towards comprehensive recycling; energy saving traffic signals; environmental stewardship with the mission to conserve nature and natural resources. Education and Workforce Development Cabinet works towards creative recycling, used motor oil recycling, providing environmental education, and introducing Green and Healthy Schools Program.