October 11, 2000 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Are you involved with Kentucky's natural resources? The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture's Forestry Department is offering a unique opportunity whether you are an elected official, industry representative, community planner, environmentalist, lobbyist, etc.

Each January, since 1996, 30 individuals have formed a new class of the Kentucky Natural Resources Leadership Institute. These select individuals attend thee-day seminars each month for six months at locations around the Commonwealth and one in Washington DC.

"At each seminar, there is a mix of skills building, practice and case study," said Jennifer Thompson, Extension associate in the UK forestry department. "After the seminars, the final 12 months of the Institute is a time to apply what you learned by starting a project in your work or community."

The group focuses on local and state-level policy-making and then they get a chance to compare that to national-level policy-making when they are in DC. While in the nation's capital, the Kentucky group meets with a similar group from North Carolina to share ideas and opinions. They also have a chance to visit various interest groups, politicians, and policy makers.

The 30 participants chosen for the 2001 class will take part in hands-on leadership training with diverse classmates. Together, they will learn about conflict analysis and resolution, leadership qualities and skills, natural resource issues, and policy-making processes. Examples of previous 12-month projects are numerous and many are listed on the Institute's Web Site, http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Forestry/NRLI.htm. One participant used his knowledge to form a county council that addressed ways to spend tobacco settlement money, while another participant organized a dump clean up in Jackson County.

Locations for the 2001 monthly seminars are Pennyrile, Barren River, and Cumberland Falls State Resort Parks, Frankfort and Robinson Forest.

Registration for the Institute is $600. Each participant will also need from $1200 to $1500 for other expenses such as travel, food and lodging. Some meals, all materials and the flight to Washington DC are included in the registration. Financial assistance is available to those who need it. The deadline to apply for the 2001 class is November 1.

For an application or more information, call Jennifer Thompson (859) 257-2943, or contact your local county Extension office.


Jennifer ThompsonĀ 859-257-2943