Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Richard R. Hannan, June 26, 1989

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Autobiography and involvement with conservation

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Partial Transcript: This is an unrehearsed interview with Richard Hannan...

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes his education and interests leading to his education in biology and ecology, and his professional career.

Keywords: Biology; Botany; California; Don Parker; Ecology; Kentucky; Nature Preserves Commission

Subjects: Education; Environmentalism

00:04:48 - Nature Preserves Commission overview / Kentucky Virgin Forests

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Partial Transcript: Well for--first could you just say a few words about the Nature Preserves Commission?

Segment Synopsis: Hannan provides a history of the Nature Preserves Commission and describes its current mission.

Keywords: Elisha Creek; Inventory; Lily Cornett Woods; Mandate; Natural; Preserve; Right Fork; System

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism

GPS: Elisha Creek, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.081496, -83.519012
00:09:48 - Establishment of the Nature Preserves Commission

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Partial Transcript: Uh, when the Commission was established in 1976, uh, why all of a sudden--what, what was going on that brought it into being?

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes the interest in, and process of, establishing the Nature Preserves Commission.

Keywords: Conservation; Governor Julian Carroll; Governors; Jon Rickert; Legislation; Ornithologists

Subjects: Environmental protection--Kentucky; Environmentalism

00:12:25 - Nature Preserves Commission's early work

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Partial Transcript: Uh, so you've really been with the Commission since it really started out.

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes the early work of the NPC, grant work, and his work as a plant ecologist working in coalfields in Eastern and Western Kentucky.

Keywords: Aquatic; Coalfields; Don Harper; Ecologists; Ecosystems; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Grants; Office of Surface Mining; Soft money; WAPORA, Inc.

Subjects: Coal mines and mining--Environmental aspects; Environmental protection; Environmentalism

00:16:15 - Inventory findings in Eastern and Western Kentucky / discovering unique areas

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Partial Transcript: Well, maybe you could tell us a bit about what you found and what, what happened with those areas.

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes his findings and the pride he has in documenting species and areas that are now protected. He also describes his process of using maps and topography to identify areas to visit.

Keywords: Botanists; Dan Van Norman; Eastern Kentucky; Grants; Habitat; Inventories; Isolation; Knobs; Maps; Oil shale; Old growth; Pine Mountain; Protection; Rick Phillipe; Terrain; Topography; Wayne Hal Cooper; Western Kentucky

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Natural areas; Wildlife conservation.

00:28:43 - Unique elements of land ownership in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Who, who are the main owners of these areas?

Segment Synopsis: Hannan discusses the unique way in which land is owned in Kentucky, including the difficulty of attempting to buy Bad Branch Falls State Nature Preserve.

Keywords: Bad Branch; Broad form deeds; Corporate; Deeds; Kentucky; Landowner; Mineral ownership; Mineral rights; Mineral state; Private; Surface mining; Voluntary

Subjects: Environmental protection--Kentucky; Environmentalism; Land use.

GPS: Bad Branch Falls State Nature Preserve near Eolia, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.066803, -82.772064
00:31:47 - Records of rare species of plants and animals

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Partial Transcript: About how many of these areas are on, uh, coal, or are on precious minerals?

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes the data management for conservation efforts and the 140 sites that are high priority. He attempts to estimate how many are in the mineral areas.

Keywords: Animals; Manage; Natural heritage database; Plants; Rare; Resources; Species

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Nature Conservancy (U.S.); Wildlife conservation.

00:34:32 - Management of preserve areas on public and private lands

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Partial Transcript: And what, what kind of cooperation have you usually gotten from owners?

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes how the Nature Preserves Commission negotiates acquisitions on private land, especially in conjunction with other agencies.

Keywords: Acres; Coal; Land owners; Minerals; Mines; Nature; Preserves; Property; Reserves; State parks; Wetlands

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Land use.; Natural areas

00:38:43 - Challenges of work with limited state resources

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Partial Transcript: Have you seen any, uh, kind of trends in, uh--at this point you've been involved almost more than 20 years--uh, in terms of working with people in the state...

Segment Synopsis: Hannan describes the difficulties of accomplishing work with limited budgets and staff.

Keywords: Agency; Appropriations; Budgets; Grants; Money; Staff; State legislature

Subjects: Environmental protection--Kentucky; Environmentalism; Kentucky. General Assembly

00:46:09 - Preservation of natural areas

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Partial Transcript: In my role in other organizations, I was formerly, uh, the secretary of National Areas Association...

Segment Synopsis: Hannan discusses the difficulty of preserving natural areas due to development and profits. He talks about the importance of prairies in Kentucky.

Keywords: Blue grass; Broadhead Swamp; Clear cutting; Communication; Fences; Forests; Land owners; Landmarks; Malls; National Parks Service; Non-profit; Prairies; Preservation; Subdivision

Subjects: Environmental protection--Kentucky; Environmentalism; Natural areas; Rockcastle County (Ky.)

00:55:11 - Consequences for not using wise development

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Partial Transcript: Um, well I think that brings us into that question about wise development.

Segment Synopsis: Hannan explores how Kentucky can diversify its economy to create opportunities for conservation and preservation.

Keywords: Conservation; Development; Diversification; Economy; Planning

Subjects: Environmental education.; Environmental protection--Kentucky; Environmentalism

01:03:44 - Shared environmental responsibility

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Partial Transcript: And Oris Blackwell feels that very strongly...

Segment Synopsis: Hannan explores the idea of a shared environment that needs to be preserved, not just for flora and fauna but for humans as well. Additionally he touches on the idea of public education. [This discussion cuts off mid sentence.]

Keywords: Planning; Shared

Subjects: Conservation of natural resources; Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Pollution.; Wildlife conservation.

01:05:42 - Diversification to protect resources

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Partial Transcript: I wanted to go back and ask you, at the very beginning you said that, uh, part of wise development for Kentucky...

Segment Synopsis: Hannan points out that diversifying the economy in Kentucky can attract a diverse set of people who are interested in the environment in diverse ways.

Keywords: Agriculture; Coal; Diversification; Illinois; Indiana; Missouri; Money; Recreation; State parks; Tennessee; Tobacco; Toyota; Wetlands

Subjects: Conservation of natural resources; Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism

01:13:13 - Sources of interest in conservation

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Partial Transcript: Do you want to ask him about the sources?

Segment Synopsis: Hannan discusses his childhood and parents in trying to identify the reason for his interest in environmental conservation.

Keywords: Birds; Camping; Daydreams; Flying; Kentucky; Nature; Parents; Travel; Wild

Subjects: Childhood; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Families.

01:24:14 - Advice to young conservationists in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: The last question that we wanted to ask you...

Segment Synopsis: Hannan stresses the importance of education in conservation, including a masters degree and PhD.

Keywords: Academic; Agency; Biologists; Government; Masters degrees; PhD; Research; School; Teaching; Work

Subjects: Education; Environmental protection; Environmentalism