Winnie Hepler Recipient of 7th Annual Stuart Butler Memorial Award

Note Ripped Edge Bottom Raw@4x


Kentucky Heartwood was thrilled to present the 7th Annual Stuart Butler Memorial Award to Winnie Hepler on November 3, 2012.  

Winnie’s generosity, compassion, and unshakable commitment to the environment has helped inspire and guide the environmental movement in Kentucky since 1965.  

Our distinguished speakers, Sarah Lynn Cunningham, Jim Bennett, Bud Hixson, Tom FitzGerald, Teena Halbig, Gracie Lewis, Rita Farmer, Scott Houchin, and Kate Cunningham, honored the life and legacy of Winnie.

Winnie was the first advocate for protecting Beargrass Creek from development, and her tireless efforts over the decades have resulted in the creation of four parks along the Middle Fork, protecting the creek on most of its journey through St. Matthews. Winnie walked the picket line in support of civil rights in the 1960s and got arrested for trespassing at the site of the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in 1977.  For nearly 50 years she has advocated for clean air, clean water, and endangered species protection.

From her work with coalfield residents in the late 60s to support a ban of surface coal mining to her presence at an EPA hearing on mining-related pollution in 2012 to countless letters in between, Winnie has consistently fought the ravages of mining. Winnie joined residents and activists to stop the Red River gorge dam in the 70s; in the early 2000s she worked with black activists in western Louisville to stop pollution from the Rubbertown chemical plants.

From advocating for population control to her work in operating a recycling center to her faithful presence in endless zoning battles, Winnie has been a champion of the land and its inhabitants.  

Thank you, Winnie, for being our hero.

Kentucky Heartwood thanks the Unitarian Universalist Church and all the sponsors and volunteers who made the event a success.

You can, use this link to read the beautiful, touching comments that were sent by Tom Fitzgerald, of KRC.

Many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers!
Cedar Ring Greens, Tona Barkley, Larkspur Press, Alfalfa’s, 3rd Street Stuff, Evan Orchard and Cider Mill, Trina Peiffer, Laurie Schimmoeller, Wayne Davis, Berries on Brian Station, Unitarian Universalist Church, Good Foods Market and Café, Al’s Sushi Bar, Bluegrass Bakery, Wenchell’s, and Kentucky Heartwood Council members.

About the Stuart Butler Memorial Award:
Stuart Butler was a founding member of Kentucky Heartwood and served on the Board of Directors until his passing. During his lifetime, he volunteered for many organizations to improve human communities and conserve the natural environment. Many of us had no idea of the depth and breadth of Stu’s commitments until he was gone. 

Proceeds from the Stuart Butler Memorial Dinner  go toward the Kentucky Heartwood Endowment for Forest Protection, ensuring that Kentucky’s natural and human communities will continue to reap the benefits of his hard work. 

The Stuart Butler Memorial Award keeps Stu’s legacy alive by honoring individuals who follow in his footsteps. We remember Stu as a friend, a mentor, and a colleague; and we celebrate his determination, loyalty, encouragement, dedication to many causes, and love of the outdoors. 

Past award winners include Hilary Lambert, Tom FitzGerald, Mary Carol Cooper, Hugh Archer, Deb Bledsoe, and Johanna Camenisch.  Congratulations, Winnie, on joining this group of amazing people!