Monthly Archives: October 2013

Shaped by Water

In 2001, the Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded an “Arts Meets Activism” grant to four women artists/activists working with the Kentucky RIVERKEEPER, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in residence at Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for Appalachian Studies. The planning grant was designed to promote arts activism within eastern Kentucky schools and communities and devise a funding strategy to give the project legs. The long-term goal was to establish an annual River Festival as an art/environmental event with feminist leadership. Co-directors of this project included Judy Sizemore (Circuit Rider for the Kentucky Arts Council), Pat Banks (artist-educator), Joanne Guifoil (Professor of Art Education, Eastern Kentucky University), and Gabrielle Beazely (independent videographer/photographer).

Poem by Louan Christensen


The purpose of this ongoing program has been to promote watershed awareness and cultural heritage education through arts experiences. Led by Kentucky Riverkeeper Pat Banks, various teams of environmentally active artists/educators have provided workshops/retreats for artists, educators and activists Kentucky River watershed communities.  An annual exhibit and reception is held at Richmond’s Gallery on Main. 

The goals of the projects in this program are to:

  • Recognize rural women as leaders and guardians of their community watersheds.
  • Inspire more rural women to use their creativity as environmental activists.
  • Develop a network of rural women artists and leaders who will promote watershed awareness.
  • Reconnect rural women with cultural heritage in the rivers and creeks as they work toward watershed restoration and preservation.


Poem: Splashing


by: Louan Christensen


Goose bump water rushes

over near frozen feet


on a hot summer afternoon.

Child-hands launch

hollowed out cucumber boats

And the race begins!

Bare feet sink in garden mud

of thirsty dirt and irrigation water.

Back- bent farmers hoe peas and beets.


on ragged jeans

Then eat them.

We slurp clear water from cupped hands

letting it trickle down our chins;

We pick green apples and pucker

at their sour sweetness.

Beyond the pasture fence

A tire swing hangs

From a sycamore tree.

We soar above the canal

Our voices squeal, ”Higher! Higher!”

Still, we drag

delighted toes and sunburned feet

through the gentle coolness.


>How I wish I could gift you

the long ago afternoon

when your daddy and the city kids

opened up the hydrant

in the humid streets of Philadelphia, <

bent their backsides

into the fierce, escaping Niagara,

creating water umbrellas,

rainbows, splashing puddles,

and laughter.

Oh to fill a bucket with

long agos and yesterdays

till they spill over the rim

and flood the summer grass.

To dance child, in the mist

of the garden hose

and paint wet footprints

on concrete canvas.

Kentucky River (67 Miles) Impaired by Mercury



The 2008 Integrated Report on the condition of Kentucky’s streams and waterways was recently released by the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW).  While monitoring results for all of the Commonwealth’s water bodies were reported during this two-year cycle, the Kentucky River Basin was one of the primary focuses of this 2008 reporting cycle.

A review of the monitoring results from the 2008 report for waters within the Kentucky River watershed show area waters to be typically impaired by fecal coli form, e-coli, eutrophication and sedimentation/siltation and other biological indicators.  But, perhaps of most concern, is that the 2008 Integrated Report lists 67 river miles of the Kentucky River, starting in Estill County (56 miles) to Owen County (another 11 miles) as impaired by methyl mercury (p.76).

Considering that methyl mercury (like lead) is a potent neurotoxin, the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) recently asked for clarification and more information from KDOW on this matter. During May of this year, mercury impairment levels were discussed via a teleconference session and at the May 28 EQC open forum with KDOW regulators.

Considering the number of river miles involved and the type of contaminant, the Kentucky State Environmental Quality Commission has placed this issue on its agenda for its November meetings. KDOW regulators will be invited, as well as members from the 2004/2005 Special Taskforce on Mercury. EQC meetings are open to the public and members of the Kentucky RIVERKEEPER and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend to discuss these results on mercury from the 2008 Integrated Report.

 By Stephanie McSpirit, Ph.D.
Board Member, Kentucky State Environmental Quality Commission

Kentucky River Water Trail

Pool 9 was dedicated June 4th, 2011. We are currently working on Pools 11 & 12 for 2012 with the eventual goal of completing the entire Kentucky River.

Pool 9 was dedicated June 4th, 2011. We are currently working on Pools 11 & 12 for 2012 with the eventual goal of completing the entire Kentucky River.

The following documents are available in PDF format. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view and print the files.

Clark Receives Award

Kent Clark, Madison County Judge-Executive, received a Kentucky Riverkeeper award from the students at Mayfield Elementary.

Kent Clark, Madison County Judge-Executive, received a Kentucky Riverkeeper award from the students at Mayfield Elementary.

Judge Clark met with the students during a field trip to the Kentucky River Museum, the beach, Riverkeeper boat and Fort Boonesborough. The students were researching images and materials for their cafeteria wall mural. The mural has been six years in the making.

Mayfield art teacher Sharla Davidson wrote grants and partnered with community groups to secure the funding to support this project. The Kentucky Arts Council Roster Artist and the Kentucky Riverkeeper Pat Banks has worked with this project from the beginning. The river story was incorporated through out the process. Students learned about plants, animals, fish and some history surrounding this region and watershed.

Burke’s 67 Mile Run


I’m soliciting your help.

Since I am 67, I thought it would be a good idea to try to run 67 miles all at one time. So, I intend to run around Bear Lake in northern Utah on August 2-3 this summer.

My goal is to finish in about 14 hours… that’s about 12 minutes per mile; not very fast.

I’m doing this run to raise funds for The Kentucky Riverkeeper, an environmental group here in Kentucky where my wife, Louan, and I serve with some really nice people on the board of directors.

The help I would like is your willingness to spread the word about an old guy like me running 67 miles around a lake. I would also like your financial support and the support of anyone you know in terms of making a donation to The Kentucky Riverkeeper.

I have run 10 marathons but I have never run any distance longer than a marathon – which is 26.2 miles. Put another way, my little overnight run around the lake will be equal to slightly more than two and a half marathons.

If you can help with a financial contribution of $1.00 or $2.00 per mile, please send your check to The Kentucky Riverkeeper; put 67@67 on memo line.  Results will be posted on our website and facebook.

The Kentucky Riverkeeper contact information and the place to send your tax-deductible contribution is:

Kentucky Riverkeeper
P.O. Box 1296
Richmond, KY 40476
859-859 200-7442

Thanks for your help!

Burke Christensen

Published on May 08, 2013

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