Kentucky authors to visit for March 5 event

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Part of 10th anniversary for New Pioneers

By Brandon Mattingly
Landmark News Service

It may not seem like it, but the New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future just turned 10 years old.
You may not have heard of the non-profit organization until five years, three years or even just a year ago, but Sr. Claire McGowan and the New Pioneers have been hard at work for a decade trying to send the message of the importance of preserving the world around us, and on Thursday, March 5 they’ll celebrate that decade of progress.
An awards gala is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at Spalding Hall on the campus of St. Catharine College with beverages and a silent auction of sustainable items, which will be followed by a dinner composed of various local foods. The night will conclude with an award presentation.
Renowned Kentucky author Wendell Berry will be presenting the New Pioneers Trailblazer award to his daughter, Mary, founder and executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle and the Berry Farming program at SCC. Author and professor Fenton Johnson will present the Green Living award to his sister and brother-in-law, Martha and Arthur Young.
The New Pioneers have been heavily involved in the community since 2005, taking responsibility for everything from curbside recycling to educational forums and spreading the warning that climate change is a substantial and immediate threat. The group has become more focused in the public eye in recent years, as they have taken up the charge of opposing potential pipeline projects through the area and have strongly supported the Buy Local movement.
After 10 years, the organization has roughly 225 memberships representing between 400 and 500 individuals.
McGowan said the fight against the Bluegrass Pipeline earned the group local recognition, and that tailoring to the needs of the county has allowed local residents to understand the importance of the New Pioneers. The primary reason for their success, however, has been the number of community members who have decided to get involved.
“The reason why we have consistently been a vibrant organization is we’ve had excellent board members from the community,” McGowan said. “Our board members reflect not only Washington County, but also Marion and Nelson counties.”
As the New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future prepare to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, they are, as always, keeping an eye on the future and staying prepared for whatever comes next.
“I am convinced that this group will continue to evolve and develop, and that our county and tri-county area will be seen in the next 10 years as one of the real pioneers of changing awareness and changing practice with regard to sustainability,” she said. “That pleases me to no end.”
Tickets to the March 5 awards gala at Spalding Hall are available at the New Pioneers office in Springfield City Hall. You can also contact Sr. Claire McGowan at 1-859336-5070 or NewPioneersSF@aol.com to find out more information.
Editor’s note: Brandon Mattingly is the editor of The Springfield Sun in Springfield.