Dr. Blaine Early Receives 2023 Robert N. Clay Service Award

The Robert N. Clay Award is named after the first President of Bluegrass Tomorrow back in 1989, when he was also President of Three Chimney’s Farm. It is a Board, President’s Award and is really a most valuable player award presented to a board member for outstanding service….who has done the most to improve Bluegrass Tomorrow and promote its mission over the past year or years.

The Award is chosen by the President and Chair of Bluegrass Tomorrow, with the approval of the selection committee and executive committee.

Our Robert Clay Award Winner, Dr. Blaine Early who has practiced environmental law at Stites & Harbison for over 20 years. He has been a very active Board member through his four terms on the Board of Directors. He has served as Vice Chair for two years and Chair in 2009 and 2010.

Blaine has held several other positions as an officer of the board, including secretary for 3 years and is currently in the third year as Vice President of the Bluegrass Forever Green Division, overseeing the Conservation, Preservation, and Sustainability programming and initiatives of Bluegrass Tomorrow.

Last year, Blaine was responsible for the planning and execution of the first ever Bluegrass Forever Green Summer Conference at Transylvainia University. The purpose of the event was to focus on Blugrass Tomorrow’s Vision for a Sustainable Future in the Region, with the preservation of our most productive agricultural land as the centerpiece of Bluegrass Sustainability.

Blaine worked diligently with the committee to help define the four pillars of sustainability according to Bluegrass Tomorrow, based on our Vision and Mission Statements.
1. Land Use, Agriculture
2. Smart Growth/Preservation/Infill
3. Environment, Sustainability, Natural Resources
4. Recreation, Trails, Healthy Living
And the four panel presentations at the event lined up with each of these pillars. So many initiatives and strategies have resulted from this conference. Blaine even wrote, edited, and printed the program for the event himself.

The 2nd Bluegrass Forever Green Conference will take place this August under Blaine’s leadership.

Dr. Early is a former chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Energy & Environment Council and the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Environmental Commission. Before law, he was a professor of biology and chair of the department at Cumberland College.

We are proud and honored to present the 2023 Bluegrass Tomorrow Robert N. Clay Vision Award to Dr. Blaine Early.