2022 KY EXCEL Beacon Award Winners Announced

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection recognized six members of the Kentucky Excellence in Environmental Leadership (KY EXCEL) Program for outstanding efforts and activities that exemplify environmental excellence. One award was presented for each of the following project categories: Conservation, Environmental Education, Performance Improvement, Pollution Prevention, Restoration and Waste Reduction.

The 2022 KY EXCEL Beacon Award in Conservation was presented to Zeon Chemical’s campus in Louisville. Zeon Chemical has been partnering with TreesLousiville since 2017 to plant trees on their properties, and since 2021, has planted more than 30 trees. By planting trees, Zeon Chemical has helped to reduce urban heat island effect, improve aesthetics, and dissipate odors in an industrial area of West Louisville. Additionally, the trees provided shade in the company’s parking lot, which is greatly appreciated by guests and employees alike.

Sekisui S-Lec, America (SSA) in Winchester received the 2022 KY EXCEL Beacon Award in Environmental Education. SSA worked with a local nursey to donate tomato plants for approximately 400 child at Justice Elementary School. Students also received a booklet developed by SSA on how to grow a garden and the environmental benefits of gardening.

The Beacon Award in Performance Improvement was given to J.M. Smucker in Lexington. The company updated or replaced outdated equipment in an effort to reduce air emissions and meet or exceed Kentucky’s air quality permitting requirements.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown received the EXCEL Beacon Award in Pollution Prevention. TMMK modified an existing paint booth, replacing the micro sludge system with an out-of-service tank, eliminating the need for weekly cleaning, and reducing the corresponding CO2 emissions and water usage.

The Beacon Award in Restoration was given to Beam Suntory’s Old Grand-Dad facility in Frankfort. A dam located behind the facility and along Elkhorn Creek was removed, minimizing the chances of flooding and increasing the safety of members of the community that use the creek for recreation.

The Waste Reduction Award was presented to Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto. The distillery purchased a glass pulverizer to grind glass waste down to a sand consistency. The sand will be used on campus during construction projects, for trail aggregate, and will be provided to the local community.  Additionally, Maker’s Mark is exploring partnerships to increase the recycled content of the glass in their bottles.

The KY EXCEL Program provides a networking opportunity for Kentucky’s environmental stewards and an avenue to develop environmental leaders. To view short videos about each of the 2022 Beacon Award Winners, or to learn more about the benefits of being a KY EXCEL member click here


Kentucky Division of Forestry to Recognize Local Ambulance Director, Firefighter

The Kentucky Division of Forestry will recognize Rowan County Ambulance Director and volunteer firefighter Danny Blevins who has received the National Wildfire Mitigation award, during Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 6, 2022.

The award ceremony will be held at the Area 9 State Fire and Rescue Training Center 99 Lake Park Drive, Morehead, KY at 1 PM. 

Blevins is the first Kentucky resident to be nominated and receive the award, which is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the United States Forest Service (USFS).  Blevins received the award March 22 at the Wildland-Urban Interface Conference hosted by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) in Reno, Nevada.

Kessley Baker, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist from the Kentucky Division of Forestry, nominated Blevins for the award. “We are extremely excited that Danny received this opportunity to be nationally recognized and bring to light all the progress this community has accomplished in wildfire risk reduction, prevention, and preparedness,” Baker said.

Blevins, and Route 377 Fire-Rescue, which also will be recognized at the May 6 event, have taken the lead in numerous local wildfire mitigation activities, including Firewise USA® recognition, wildfire hazard planning and training, and community events.

For more information about the event, please contact Kessley Baker at kessley.baker@ky.gov. Details for all the awardees can be found on the NASF website, stateforesters.org.  


Nominations Being Accepted for 2022 Environmental Excellence Awards

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) is calling for nominations through June 30, 2022 for the 2022 Environmental Excellence Awards.

These annual awards recognize the efforts of individuals, businesses, and organizations committed to protecting and improving Kentucky’s environment, and provide a platform to tell the stories of environmental stewardship taking place across the Commonwealth.

“Kentucky’s remarkable natural resources have helped shape our economy, culture and history,” said Amanda LeFevre, Deputy Commissioner of DEP. “These resources also give  us the responsibility of good stewardship. This requires vision, commitment and determination on the part of the agency, Kentucky’s citizens, and the individuals and companies governed by Kentucky’s environmental regulations. We’re proud to recognize their efforts through these awards.”

One award will be given for each of the four categories: Environmental Pacesetter, Resource Caretaker, Environmental Community Luminary, and KY EXCEL Champion. The KY EXCEL Champion will be awarded to an active member of KY EXCEL.

Businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals may be nominated or may self-nominate.

Details and nomination forms are available online  here. Please submit nominations and all questions pertaining to the 2022 Environmental Excellence Awards to envhelp@ky.gov.