In celebration of Earth Day, the next Kentucky Life, hosted by Dave Shuffett, explores the Kentucky Wild Rivers Program at The Little South Fork, takes a trip to Licking River in Northern Kentucky to discover Kentucky's incredible mussel species, and meets farmer and seed collector Bill Best, who introduces viewers to his heirloom beans. The program airs Saturday, April 20 at 8/7 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 4/3 p.m. on KET.
With more than 104 species of mussels, Kentucky has the third-highest mussel diversity in the United States and more species than the entire continent of Africa. In this program, Shuffett puts on a wet suit and joins biologists from the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission in Northern Kentucky on a trip to Pendleton County to the Licking River, which alone has more than 50 species of mussels. This segment also features the Center for Mollusk Conservation in Frankfort, part of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
In this program, Shuffett also learns about The Kentucky Wild Rivers Program as he explores the beautiful forest and waterways of The Little South Fork of the Cumberland River in Wayne and McCreary counties. Kentucky has more miles of navigable water than any state other than Alaska, and considerable effort goes into preserving and protecting them. The Wild Rivers Program was established by the Kentucky Wild Rivers Act of 1972 and recognizes portions of nine rivers of exceptional quality and aesthetic character.
Kentucky Life also travels to a farm near Berea to meet Bill Best, a retired Berea College professor who is known nationally as a seed saver who stores hundreds of heirloom bean seed varieties and grows them mainly for seed. Heirloom beans have played an important part in the diet, economy, culture and history of southern Appalachia, which has the perfect climate for growing beans. For example, in Breathitt County alone, 48 distinct species of beans have been found. Also in this segment, Bob Perry, chef at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, prepares three styles of heirloom beans three different ways.
Kentucky Life is a KET production, produced by Brandon Wickey. Segment producers are Wickey and Shuffett.
More information about Kentucky Life, including streaming video, is available at ket.org/kentuckylife.