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Program 1701

1. Biodiversity—Moths
2. Downtown—Frankfort
3. Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
4. Desert Plants
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Season 17 Menu

Nelson County

For more information:
Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists
University of Kentucky Critter Files

Producer: Brandon Wickey
Audio Post: Chuck Burgess


The moths you see fluttering in the evening sky or around a ceiling light in your home are just the tip of the Lepidoptera iceberg: There are more than 2,400 species of moths in Kentucky.

Who found and identified all these moths? Meet the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists, a group of mostly amateur butterfly and moth enthusiasts who have been at work since the 1970s recording the biodiversity found in the night sky. The group is credited with identifying more than a thousand moths previously unknown in the state.

How can you tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Most moths are nocturnal, rest with their wings spread flat, and have bigger, fuzzy bodies. The antenna are often thin and feathery.

Moths can be as tiny as a quarter-inch long or as large the Cecropia silkmoth, with a wing spread of up to 6 inches. We notice the dull brown ones most often, but there's so much more to see. The swallow-tailed, pale green luna moth has a 3- to 4-inch wingspan, and hummingbird moths, which look like bees with hummingbird wings, can be seen in daylight among summer flowers. We join some members of the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists on a hot August night near Coxs Creek at Bernheim Forest to see what kind of moths we can find.

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Franklin County

For more information:

Producer/Videographer: John Schroering
Audio: Noel Depp
Editor: Kelly Campbell
Audio Post: Chuck Burgess


Our next downtown destination is Frankfort. The Capitol, which houses a wealth of history inside its granite and limestone exterior, comes to mind as the obvious tourist attraction, but we went exploring to find what else Kentucky's capital city offers.

Before there was our modern golden-dome Capitol, there was the Old State Capitol, a Greek Revival building dating back to 1830 and now home to the Kentucky Historical Society. The nearby Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History draws schoolchildren and tourists for a comprehensive view of life in the Bluegrass.

The Grand Theatre, a 1911 vaudeville house restored in 2009, hosts live performances as well as movies and other events. The historic downtown area at St. Claire Street and Broadway is home to a number of restaurants, including the ever-popular Serafini Italian Restaurant and Bar, as well as the Capital Cellars Wine and Spirits Café Market and Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe.

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Daviess County

For more information:
Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, 901 Frederica St., Owensboro, Ky. 42301 phone: 270-685-3181

Producer: Brandon Wickey
Audio Post: Chuck Burgess

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art

The elegant Carnegie Library building in Owensboro is home to the second largest art museum in the state, the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.

Built in 1910, the Carnegie Library here had a rocky start. The mayor back then refused to approve the required annual budget for its upkeep, and it was several years before the Women's Club won a court case to get the library opened.

Over the years the library relocated and eventually the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, founded in the 1970s, moved into the Carnegie building. Cornerstones of the museum include an Edward Degas bronze, a portrait of King George IV, and a Charles Wilson Peale portrait of Col. Joseph Hamilton Daviess, for whom the county is named. Major exhibitions are held in the Carnegie Wing.

The museum also features a major collection of American folk art. The museum also honors Western Kentucky traditions, celebrating county days to showcase the arts and cultural heritage of the surrounding counties.

These days the museum gets lots of support from city hall. Owensboro's mayor is donating his mayoral salary to continue the work of the museum.

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Whitley County

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: John Schroering
Audio: Brent Abshear
Editor: Kelly Campbell
Audio Post: Chuck Burgess

Palms and Cacti in the Bluegrass

Your average plant lover might have a cactus or two, but this Whitley County gardener is not your average gardener. Russell Johnson grows more than 60 varieties of cacti and palms right in his own backyard.

Russell gives Dave Shuffett a tour and talks about how and why he does it. His backyard garden includes palmettos, palm trees, southern and western species of cacti, longleaf pine, and Spanish moss—not in pots moved indoors for the winter, but in the ground year-round.

Russell obviously knows what he's doing. He's been cultivating this exotic landscape in his town of Rockholds for more than a decade.

While most of us think of palm trees as tropical plants, some will grow in temperate climates provided the cold snaps aren't prolonged, surviving temperatures as low as 5 degrees. The south side of a building can offer a tropical palm enough heat and shelter to survive north of its normal cold hardiness zone.

Cacti, too, can be grown outdoors if they're a hardy variety. In fact, the prickly pear cactus is native to Kentucky.

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SEASON 17 PROGRAMS: 1701170217031704170517061707170817091710171117121713171417151716171717181719172017211722

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