Being Good Stewards
This issue's articles about The Arboretum and about forest health might suggest that our College's activities in environmental sciences are growing, but the reality is that our emphasis on teaching, research, and extension in natural resource conservation is simply becoming more visible.
For several decades our faculty and staff, together with Kentucky policy makers, have been actively addressing the relationship between agricultural and environmental issues. We now operate on the premise that the environmental health of soil, water, and forest resources is essential to the health of our agricultural economy.
Earlier this year, the College accepted administrative responsibility for the Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment. This multidisciplinary, cross-college center has already established a distinguished program in youth environmental education. Several other exciting initiatives are under way, such as restoration of a surviving remnant of the original Bluegrass landscape at Silver Lake Farm near Cynthiana.
Last year, the University's Board of Trustees approved a new management plan and an aggressive new research program for Robinson Forest in Eastern Kentucky. Under these plans, a fraction of this forest of more than 10,000 acres soon will be harvested, but only as consistent with, and in support of, research and education priorities.
Several county extension initiatives around Kentucky have established environmental or horticultural education facilities, and our undergraduate major in Natural Resource Conservation and Management continues to thrive.
The Arboretum, Robinson Forest, Silver Lake, the 4-H camps, and all of our farms can be beautiful, sometimes even park-like, locales. Even though their purpose is to support research and education, the College, like virtually all of Kentucky's landowners, is deeply committed to environmental stewardship and wise use of these fine natural resources.
M. Scott Smith
Dean, College of Agriculture