Donna Smith

President’s Project – Appalachian Wildlife Center

In Bell County in the Mountain Laurel District of The Garden Club of Kentucky there is a 12,000-acre tract of land that is being developed for an elk preserve by The Appalachian Wildlife Foundation. This preserve, which will be developed on abandoned coal strip mine property, will have a visitor’s center, small lake, restaurant, petting zoo and elk viewing tours as well as historical displays of the area’s mining on this land. These acres of old strip mine property that surround the visitor’s center will be reclaimed and planted to create the prairie necessary for the elk. This area is isolated and free from pesticide overspray. Several rare migratory birds have been sighted in the preserve that depend on feeding from our native seeds and berries along their journey. There are bear, fox, bobcats and other small mammals living on the property.

For my special project, our garden club members will collaborate with The Appalachian Wildlife Center to develop several acres of native habitat near the visitor’s center. We would provide seed and help develop plans for fields of native wildflowers and grasses that would provide food and shelter for many birds, small mammals, insects and other creatures.

This area and its surrounds would need to include a covered outdoor classroom and walking trails for students and other visitors to the preserve.

I feel that my project would be an educational tool that would help all visitors learn how important native plants are to the protection and continuation of all native life around us.

President’s Project – KY Highway Medians

Native Plants on Highway Medians and Public Space in KY

There have been some efforts made in Kentucky to plant small plots of native plants for our pollinators in Monarch Way Stations, in our state parks and on our highway right-of-way.

The Kentucky Transportation cabinet has approximately 200,000 acres of right-of- way. Of that, it maintains about 100,000 acres with mowing, spraying, re-seeding, etc. In addition, our counties maintain other roads that contain additional acreage that are maintained.

Our members are asked to work with local government agencies to develop areas that are planted with native plants. This will increase the native plants on our highway properties and help eliminate invasive species that threaten the native plants.

See President’s Award #2

President’s Message – Summer 2019

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

Thank you all for giving of your time and talents to this wonderful organization, The Garden Club of Kentucky, Inc.

I look forward to serving as your president for the next two years, and I am honored to have been chosen for this position.

My theme is ‘Let’s Grow’, and that is what I feel we must do.  We must grow the number of members in our local clubs, grow the number of clubs in Kentucky, grow in knowledge by attending NGC schools. We must share our knowledge by hosting Flower Shows, open garden tours, and volunteering to present programs for other organizations. We must grow the number of youth gardening activities we sponsor, so that our youth can become adults that make wise choices for this earth.

My special projects will be Gardening with Native Plants, and Habitats for our wildlife: animals, birds, insects and plants. Our native plants co-evolved with our wildlife, our soil microbes and our insects, and are deeply dependent on the relationship that exists between them all. By planting native plants, we build a healthy eco-system, one that provides food and shelter for the total population of living things.

Our incoming National President, Gay Austin, will continue Nancy Hargrove’s theme. It is “Plant America”. Our SAR Director Carolyn McCafferty’s theme is “Jump at Every Opportunity”. I charge our Kentucky members to plant and maintain personal and public gardens across our part of America, and to jump at every opportunity to grow our gardens and our organization. Let’s have fun and work hard. “Let’s Grow”.

Donna E. Smith

GCKY President

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