FRANKFORT — The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) has given its highest volunteer award to Dr. William Bliss Crankshaw of Winchester.
The annual award recognizes a person, people or organization that has made a significant contribution to a specific preserve or to the furtherance of KSNPC’s mission by volunteering time, expertise or physical efforts without anticipation of compensation.
KSNPC presented the 2012 Volunteer Steward Award to Dr. Crankshaw who, at age 87, still manages to put in six hours a week year-round to eradicate exotic invasive plants within the boundaries of the Lower Howard’s Creek Heritage Park and State Nature Preserve in Clark County.
“If you wonder what our motivation is, I would say that we all think of the preserve as a unique natural area,” Crankshaw said. “To me it seems a miniature of the Kentucky River Valley. As a professional ecologist, I realize the woods have had a vast amount of disturbance in the past. However, these woods, the historic sites and the topography offer great opportunities for education and appreciation of what we have and what we have lost.”
Lower Howard’s Creek Heritage Park and State Nature Preserve is owned by the Clark County Fiscal Court, and 228 acres were dedicated into the State Nature Preserves system in January 2001. Lower Howard’s Creek flows through a deep, twisting gorge and into the Kentucky River. Second growth forests cover the slopes and cliff tops, and a showy array of wildflowers grace the valley bottoms in the spring. The steep topography has created refuge for one federally endangered and one state threatened plant species.
More information about Lower Howard’s Creek can be obtained through the Friends of Lower Howard’s Creek website at http://lowerhowardscreek.org or the KSNPC website at http://naturepreserves.ky.gov.