Kenny's story of giving...


A love of nature first inspired in the Andes Mountains has found a home in Kentucky. 

In his time as a Peace Corps volunteer, Kenny Karem was able to see all types of habitats in Chile–forests, river valleys, meadows, and the Andes Mountains. Through his agricultural and educational projects, he continually had opportunities to connect with and appreciate nature.

Appreciation turned to adoration after a backpacking trip through the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. “I was so infatuated with the Gorge that I joined the Sierra Club.” 


That was 48 years ago, and Kenny has been an involved member ever since. Kenny’s not alone in being moved by the beauty of the Red River Gorge–protection of the Gorge is what led to the original creation of the Kentucky Chapter, originally known as the Cumberland Chapter. 

Kenny has been an Outings Leader for “hundreds of trips” both locally and nationally. His favorite backpacking trip that he’s led is to the Mt. Roger National Recreation Area in southwest Virginia. (Readers take note; only a few hours drive away from eastern points in KY!) After backpacking many times, Kenny can vividly describe the area with ease. “It is characterized by open balds on some ridgelines with expansive views, granite boulder rocks amidst the mountaintop meadows for climbing, viewing and napping, pink rhododendron, wild Shetland ponies, and wildflower meadows with the AT running through it.”

Thanks to Kenny’s support of the Chapter through planned gifts, beautiful natural places in Kentucky will be protected for generations to come, for all to enjoy. After leading hundreds of trips and hiking, backpacking, and camping all over the US and abroad, Kenny views his planned giving as an opportunity to “give back” and protect the environment. Kenny has chosen to support Sierra Club’s work in Kentucky by making the Chapter a beneficiary of his IRA. This can be a tax-wise way to support the Chapter, all without impacting your current budget. And unlike a gift through a will or trust, beneficiary designations are simple to update and don’t require a visit to an attorney. 

Joined with Kenny’s love of nature is a love of nature writing. Many years ago, he met Wendell Berry, famed Kentucky writer and environmentalist and read his book about the Red River Gorge, The Unforeseen Wilderness. On all of his outings, he reads an excerpt from Nancy Newhall’s This Is The American Earth.

To learn more about how you can join Kenny  in the Rachel Carson Society and create a legacy at the Kentucky Chapter, reach out to Julia Curtis. - (800) 932-4270