Story and Photos by Kirsten Delamarter
Floracliff Nature Sanctuary, located just south of Lexington, teems with biodiversity. It is home to hundreds of species of wildflowers and woody plants, 400-year-old Chinkapin oaks and rare species such as the critically imperiled northern long-eared bat.
On June 2, Energy and Environment Cabinet and Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves personnel hiked a portion of the 346-acre nonprofit nature preserve. Participating were Deputy Cabinet Secretary John Lyons, Executive Director/General Counsel Liz Natter and Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves Executive Director Zeb Weese.
The guided hike was organized as part of a cross-country van tour by NatureServe, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization that works with agencies — including the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves — and conservation scientists to collect, analyze and deliver biodiversity information.
NatureServe CEO and President Sean O’Brien participated in the hike as part of his ninth stop on the tour to highlight how NatureServe’s data is used to document and conserve biodiversity.
Representatives from the National Resources Conservation Service also participated in the guided hike.