By Carrie Searcy
Office of the Secretary
Partnerships, resources and sharing were the theme as the Division of Compliance Assistance (DCA) hosted the KY EXCEL Open House, on June 21, in Frankfort, Ky. The first-of-its-kind event welcomed anyone interested in environmental leadership and innovation in the Commonwealth.
“We want people to meet current KY EXCEL members, share ideas, recruit and learn what being a KY EXCEL member is all about,” said Robyn Whitted, the KY EXCEL Program Coordinator with the Department for Environmental Protection. “This event is networking opportunities, panel discussions and an entire day of environmental education and outreach.”
KY EXCEL is a free, voluntary program that encourages members to complete projects that improve the environment at home, within an organization, or in a community. The membership levels for participants are tiered, from non-regulatory members – Farm and Advocate, to regulated members – Partner, Leader and Master. At the open house, tables were set-up to display some of the projects current KY EXCEL members had completed and to foster discussions about what was in the works.
One table, from Catlettsburg Refinery, LLC, which is the inaugural Master KY EXCEL member, displayed projects that dated back to their acceptance into the program in 2006, from monarch stations and bat houses to the management of the Catlettsburg Refining Savage Branch Wildlife Reserve. Brian Veitch, a Co-Op student with the petroleum company, said one of the best things that they have accomplished is community outreach.
“Our projects help make more people aware of the environmental issues that directly affect our community,” Veitch said. “We really try and want to inspire others to make as minimal of an impact as possible on our environment.”
An Advocate KY EXCEL member, CDP Engineers out of Lexington, spoke during one of the sessions. Their representative, Scott Southall, pointed out how their multidisciplinary firm works to help municipalities, communities and is active in the Kentucky Stormwater Association. According to Southall, KY EXCEL is another great tool they can use to get involved in various projects and help others in the process.
“We share ideas we learned through KY EXCEL, collaborate and make presentations like the one here today,” Southall said. “We are strong supporters of a government that provides not only the stick, but also the carrot.”
About 70 people attended the day-long event, at the office of the Kentucky Cabinet for Energy and Environment. They saw 15 exhibitors showcase their projects and heard 17 KY EXCEL members speak on projects and innovative ideas they wanted to share.
“The purpose of this event is recruitment, recognition and to put resources in the pocket of participants,” Whitted said. “I definitely think we did that.”
For more information on the KY EXCEL program, please contact Robyn Whitted by e-mail at Robyn.Whitted@ky.gov, by calling 502-782-6476 or visit the KY EXCEL website at http://dca.ky.gov/kyexcel/Pages/default.aspx.