Carcille Burchette, President of the Garden Club of Kentucky, awarded Dr. Preston Miles Garden Club of Kentucky Enrichment Award for 2021 at the May Awards Luncheon of the Garden Club of Danville. He was nominated for this statewide award by the Danville club for all his contributions to the livability and health of our community and the Commonwealth.
This award is given annually to a member of a Commonwealth club or non-garden organization who exemplifies the Kentucky Gardens Club’s goals, which include the appreciation, conservation, and protection of our natural resources. This is the third time someone nominated by the Garden Club of Danville has won the award. Previous winners were Bob Ziesmer and Beau Weston.
Among his many environmental and gardening activities over the years, Miles is currently chairman of CREEC, Clarks Run Environmental and Educational Corporation. The organization has been working since 2005 to restore and protect the Clarks Run watershed that flows through Danville by improving water quality and educating communities. Danville’s earliest pioneers settled along this river in the late 1700s. Since then, the watercourse has endured difficult times, but conditions have finally improved.
CREEC has also improved riverside walking paths. With financial and volunteer assistance from the Garden Club and others, Miles and his team have created rain gardens on the trails, cleared invasive plants, and planted native trees, shrubs, and perennials along sections of the trails.
Dr. Miles retired in 2019 from the faculty of Center College, where he taught Chemistry and helped develop innovative natural science courses for nonscience majors, teaching an appreciation and understanding of nature. He also leads on-campus sustainability initiatives, where he organizes the Monarch Waystation and community parks for students.
CREEC has initiated several environmental projects in this area over the past few years, including being a major sponsor of Earth Day. Dr Miles has led local Earth Day events for several years.
He is a member of the statewide planning committee for the Kentuckian for Commonwealth renewable energy committee and serves on the Boyle County Adjustment Council. He is also a “water observer” for the Ky Department of Natural Resources and is part of the annual plant research project of the Soil Institute, Salina, Kansas.
At the luncheon, state and regional awards were presented in various categories for the activities and achievements of the Garden Club of Danville in 2021. The club received six first place awards and two third place awards from the Garden Club of Kentucky, and a first place award from South Atlantic Region of Garden Clubs.
Traditionally, decorated hats are worn for lunch. This year’s theme is the Kentucky Derby, so red roses abound in the centerpiece of the table and on the hat. This year’s hat contest winners were, from left to right, Kathy Wilson, Carolyn Hogwood, Alice Biggers, Martha Caywood, and Carol Seidel. In Derby’s honor, a sweet mint plant was presented to the winners by lunch chair, Marji Hines.