December 2, 2015 | By: Whitney Harder
LEXINGTON, Ky., -

The University of Kentucky President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee awarded nearly $200,000 in funding to seven sustainability projects. The projects selected to receive UK Sustainability Challenge Grants ranged from developing a solar powered tractor to empowering youth with sustainability education. Out of the seven grants awarded, five went to projects in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

  • Building an Inclusive Community by Empowering Youth through Sustainability Education
    Implementation of a program that incorporates sustainable agriculture, experiential education, and community education to bridge the opportunity and inclusion gap that exists in the Smithtown Neighborhood in downtown Lexington. The program will consist of three components: sustainability and sustainable agricultural education, applied community engagement through community awareness and community service, and professional development and personal succession planning of each participant.  Team members: Roger Brown, Agricultural Economics; Kristina Ricketts Community and Leadership Development; Thaiieasha Beard, Agricultural Biotechnology; Xavia Gantz, Retail Management and Tourism; Bryan Haines, Community and Leadership Development.
  • Creating Tree Ambassadors
    The Urban Forest Initiative will work with local schools and organizations and pilot a community-based program of Tree Ambassadors to enhance awareness, appreciation, and ultimately the care of urban trees. They will use the campus tree assessment as a springboard to engage the UK community in documenting tree status, health, and planting/site conditions, providing opportunities for students and "citizen scientists" to make positive contributions to our campus tree canopy.  Team members: Mary Arthur, Forestry; Lynne Rieske-Kinney, Entomology; Nic Williamson, Forestry; Amanda Williams, Forestry; Ellen Crocker, Forest Health Restoration and Education Center; Jerry Hart, UK Physical Plant Grounds Department
  • Establishing Native Forest on Surface Mines
    The project will establish shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) on a portion of the surface mined tract of UK's Robinson Forest. Reforestation provides an opportunity to sequester carbon, providing a carbon offset for the university. Shortleaf pine is a species of concern across the Southeast; the species has declined due to a combination of poor management, overharvesting, pests and pathogens. Team members: Chris Barton, Forestry and Appalachian Center; Kenton Sena, Forestry; Michael French, Green Forests Work
  • Solar Powered Tractor
    The end result of this project will be the ability to produce vegetables for the UK Horticulture Research Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program using only solar power for field machine work. Switching from fossil fuel diesel to electrical energy would greatly increase energy efficiency and would enable utilization of sustainable sources like solar.  Team members: Joseph Dvorak, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; Mark Williams, Horticulture; Don Colliver, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.
  • The Arboretums Children's Garden Patio and Wet Meadow Demonstration Area
    The design and construct of a wet meadow and permeable ADA accessible patio entrance for the newly constructed bathroom facilities near the KCG. This area will infiltrate rainwater and enhance the treatment train process already established in The Arboretum. The result will be functional, beautiful and an educational demonstration that uses ecological principles to manage water in the landscape while creating habitat and a pleasing aesthetic. Team members: Christopher Sass, Landscape Architecture; Molly Davis, The Arboretum; Richard Durham, Extension Horticulture; Mark Williams, Horticulture; George Riddle, UK Physical Plant Division Grounds Department; Jesse Dahl, The Arboretum; Emma Trester-Wilson, The Arboretum; Ned Crankshaw, Landscape Architecture; Reginald Souleyrette, Civil Engineering.

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Contact: 

Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu