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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:

· Celebrate and share your photos of Kentucky's state nature preserves by entering KSNPC's annual photo contest!

· Naturally Kentucky #75 (Winter/Spring 2016) is now available. 

· The Boone County Fiscal Court has temporarily closed the Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve due to significant erosion problems and potential safety hazards. It took this action with the support of Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. Please read the press release for more information. 

 · KSNPC dedicated an 88-acre addition to Frances J. Palk SNP. Read more about it here!​

 · Christy Lee Brown received the 2015 Biological Diversity Protection Award in recognition of her significant contributions as a private citizen to the knowledge and protection of Kentucky's biodiversity. (Award Press Release) ​​

· Kyle Elliott received the 2015 Volunteer Steward Award in recognition of his years of service to the commission at Pilot Knob SNP. (Award Press Release)

· Katie Joya is KSNPC’s 2015 Photo Contest winner! Her picture of Apple Moss at Pine Mountain SPNP, entered into the Plants and Miscellaneous Category received 63 votes, almost more than double of any other picture. Congratulations, Katie! Please visit our Facebook page to see her winning photo and the photos for our other contest category winners.

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

·KSNPC's 2014 Rare Plant Report is now available.

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