Sally Brown: Force of Nature

Editor's Note: Sally Brown died April 30, 2011 in Louisville at the age of 100.
Sally Brown: Force of Nature is a 2006 KET production.

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Her hard work and determination led to the historic expansion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and she was there when President Jimmy Carter signed that expansion into law.

She led the effort to preserve Locust Grove, the historic home of George Rogers Clark, when it was nothing more than a dilapidated home surrounded by weeds and of little interest to anyone. Today, it’s a National Historic Landmark and an accredited museum. She also helped nurture the renowned Actors Theatre of Louisville and has made Louisville her home for some 70 years.

Sally Brown had an important and lasting impact on numerous issues and projects with both local and national reach. Sally Brown: Force of Nature, a KET documentary, profiles this unique woman—a woman whom the movers and shakers of the world called a mover and shaker. Acclaimed actress Joanne Woodward narrates.

The program includes interviews with a number of prominent Louisvillians, including Brown family members, the late Barry Bingham Jr., Alex G. Campbell Jr., David Jones, David Karem, Dr. Joseph McGowan, Austin Musselman, and Alexander “Sandy” Spear. Transylvania University President Charles Shearer also appears.

Reflecting the major role Sally Brown has played in movements to protect the environment, both Kentucky environmentalists and several nationally known environmental activists appear in the program—including Jim Aldrich, vice president and state director of the Kentucky Nature Conservancy; Meme Sweets Runyon, executive director of River Fields; John Adams, founding director of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense; Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association; Patrick Noonan, chairman emeritus of the Conservation Fund; Larry Rockefeller of Americans for Alaska; James Gustav Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry; and George Woodwell, founder and director emeritus of the Woods Hole Research Center.

“Sally Brown is a fascinating individual,” says KET producer/director Janet Whitaker, “but because she is so humble, most Kentuckians don’t realize what a huge role she has played in conservation and historic preservation locally, nationally, and globally. At 95, she is still working tirelessly. She is trying to make sure the world is a better place for generations to come.”

“Sally delves into each organization with her trademark mix of passion, intelligence, and tenacity,” says Shae Hopkins, executive producer of the program and KET’s deputy executive director for programming and production. “She is one of those rare individuals who has truly made a difference in the world.”

Generous funding for Sally Brown: Force of Nature was provided by National City Bank of Kentucky, David and Betty Jones, Alex G. Campbell Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. William T. Young Jr.