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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Salamander photo by John R. MacGregor

Protecting Kentucky's Natural Heritage

The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) participates in an international network of programs that monitor biodiversity. The 1976 Kentucky legislature created the commission to protect the best remaining natural areas in the state, not only to preserve our natural heritage, but also in recognition of the dependence of our well-being on healthy ecosystems.

The plant and animal life in Kentucky, from the bottomland swamps in the west to the rich Appalachian forests in the east, is extraordinary as well as beautiful. Glades, prairies, forests, wetlands, rivers and caves form a biologically diverse web of life that is unique to the Commonwealth. The state's ecosystems are teeming with a diversity of native species from black throated green warblers to lizard skin liverworts. Some of these species are found nowhere else in the world. The aquatic systems of the state are home to rainbow darters, ghost crayfish, salamander mussels and an impressive array of other species that constitute some of the greatest levels of freshwater diversity on the planet.

We invite you to learn more about Kentucky's outstanding natural heritage by exploring our site, and encourage you to visit your state nature preserves and experience this wonderful diversity firsthand.

New from KSNPC:

· Bob and Ruth Matheny received the 2014 Volunteer Steward Award in recognition of over 15 years of service to the commission, primarily at Boone County Cliffs and Dinsmore Woods. (Award Press Release)

· KSNPC's Biennial Report 2015 and the Executive Summary of the 2015 Biennial Report are now available.

· Loran Gibson received the 2014 Biological Diversity Protection Award in recognition of his extensive contributions as a private citizen to the study of moths, butterflies and other insect groups in Kentucky. (Award Press Release).

· Congratulations Jason Butler, the overall and Landscape category winner of KSNPC's 2014 Photography Contest for his picture of Bat Cave SNP. Please visit our Facebook page to see his winning photo as well as the photos for our other contest category winners.
· KSNPC is hiring. We are looking for a nature preserves field representative with a strong background in terrestrial zoology. For more information or to apply click here.
· Naturally Kentucky #72 (Summer/Fall 2014) (corrected version) is now available.
· KSNPC is proud to announce the creation of its 61st state nature preserve.  Dedicated on March 14, 2013, Archer Benge State Nature Preserve protects 1,864 forested acres along Laurel Fork in Whitley County. Read the press release here.

· The late William Dennis Benge, of Fort Wright, Ky., bestowed a generous $202,000 donation upon KSNPC. The bequest will enable KSNPC to protect 1,591 forested acres along Laurel Fork in Whitley County. Read the press release here.

We have a traveling photograph exhibit with spectacular images of Kentucky's natural heritage. Learn more here

· The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have confirmed the presence of White-Nose Syndrome in Kentucky. A suspect little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) from a cave in Trigg County was submitted to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (in Athens, Ga., where Dr. Kevin Keel confirmed the disease). Read the press release here.

· Kentucky's Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity is now available! Read more about the book and view sample pages here

The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our
most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its
renewal, is our only legitimate hope. —Wendell Berry
from The Unsettling of America: Culture &