CLERMONT, Ky. (June 25, 2018) – The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) recently named Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest the recipient of the 2018 Operational Sustainability Award at its annual conference. Bernheim is only the third organization to ever receive the honor from the leading professional organization in the field of public horticulture.
With more than 600 member-organizations throughout the United States and around the world, APGA established the award to recognize outstanding dedication and achievements in promoting sustainability through programs, operation, facilities and/or research.
“Bernheim’s work in sustainability is truly remarkable,” said Harry Jongerden, executive director of the Toronto Botanical Garden and Chair of the 2018 Awards Committee. “They exemplify the very best practices that we can all emulate.”
APGA cited Bernheim’s innovative conservation and land protection work at the 15,625-acre forest just south of Louisville as well as its commitment to helping people develop a deeper connection with and appreciation for nature.
“We could not be prouder of this distinction,” said Dr. Mark Wourms, Bernheim’s executive director. “This award is a testament to our expert staff’s commitment to Mr. Bernheim’s legacy of environmental stewardship.”
Wourms said APGA not only considered Bernheim’s sustainability practices but also its work to help others gain knowledge on how they can protect the environment.
“From sustainable gardening workshops, to the design and maintenance of green roofs in Louisville, to developing a network of people committed to free-play in nature, Bernheim is helping grow a community of environmental stewards,” said Wourms.
The APGA awards committee also pointed to Bernheim’s innovative culture that fosters creativity and leadership in ecological stewardship.
“Our Visitor Center was the first LEED Platinum building in a multi-state region,” said Forest Manager Andrew Berry. “Our Edible Garden, where we implement regenerative design practices that help improve the environment, is one of only a few Living Building Challenge applicants in the country.”
Berry said because Bernheim is a privately held forest, the staff is afforded greater flexibility to be creative and cutting edge.
Berry emphasized that Bernheim’s large protected forest block provides a place of unmatched biological diversity where plants and wildlife can flourish.
Wourms said Bernheim’s sustainability practices translate into great benefits for human life as well.
“With more than 3 million trees and the headwaters of 13 streams, we cannot forget that Bernheim provides clean air and clean water for the 1.6 million people who call North Central Kentucky home,” he said.