Cara Cooper (Lexington)
Cara is a graduate of Florida International University with a Masters degree in Environmental Studies. She began her adventure in environmental organizing after attending Power Shift 2009. After realizing her life’s passion she helped to found the Florida state student network, FL YES Coalition. She also became very involved with the Sierra Student Coalition where she served two years on their executive committee as the Trainings Committee Liaison.
After graduation Cara worked on the Power Vote 2012 Campaign with the Sierra Student Coalition in Florida where she helped to register voters and turn out the youth vote. In 2013 she joined the Student Environmental Action Coalition’s staff and moved to her birthplace of Kentucky to work with the amazing young people of the Commmonwealth and help Kentucky transition to a just, clean energy future! In her free time she enjoys cuddling with her kitties and chickens, hiking, live music, local beer and cooking delicious vegan food for her friends.
Mary Cupp (Owensboro)
Mary is a member of the Pennyrile Group. For the past year she has served in the appointed, non-voting position of Secretary to the Chapter Executive Committee.
She has long had a passion for spending time in the outdoors among the rocks, plants, animals and celestial bodies of the natural world and is committed to the ideals that are the foundation of the Sierra Club motto to “explore, enjoy and protect the planet”.
Although Mary is a Kentucky native, she spent her career in other regions of the United States but chose to return to residence in Kentucky upon retirement. She is honored to be part of such a dynamic and hard working group of citizens who form the Cumberland Chapter. “Sierra Club’s call to protect the planet begins in our own backyard and seems never-ending. But we, who so enjoy the exploration and communion with our great natural environment, have no greater calling.”
Mary Miller (Wilmore)
Mary moved to Kentucky with her family eight years ago and since that time Sierra Club has been an important part of their lives. They took part in outings, attended Annual Meetings and Activist Weekends, as well as local events such as the book discussion group and movie nights. They felt very much at home with the activities offered, the environmental issues being highlighted and the educational programs.
One project that particularly interested her was the reforestation of old mountaintop removal sites under the direction of Patrick Angel. For six years, with the help of Nancy Bonhaus and Jerry Redden, she recruited Sierra Club members as well as others from the community to plant trees in Letcher, Lawrence and Pike Counties. During those years they planted thousands of trees and experienced great camaraderie as they slept on the floors of churches or bunk beds at Camp Webb and ate simple meals together.
In addition to being a member of Sierra Club, Mary serves on the board of Kentucky River Watershed Watch, volunteers at Salato with the “landscaping crew” and is active locally in Wilmore as the Arbor Day Chairperson.
The last few years Mary has not been as active in Sierra Club because her husband was not well and he passed away a few months ago. But at this time she would consider it a privilege to serve on the Chapter Executive Committee. She is impressed with Sierra Club members who give much of their time to make Kentucky, the country and the world environmentally healthier and would like to devote more of her time to help in that endeavor.
Gene Nettles (Hickman)
Gene is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, retired, who went to war in Southeast Asia where the destruction of man and the environment caused untold consternation. The consequences of shell holes from the Laotian border to the South China Sea remind Gene of the battle for the future waged by environmentalists on behalf of mankind and the world around us.
Gene admits that he was late to enter this fracas until an issue with hog barns seemed to be outside his door, and Sierra Club moved in to assist. From this reluctant entry, his interest was piqued. He and his wife Nancy joined the Great Rivers Group and became members of the Group Excom. Gene has written several thought-provoking articles for “The Cumberland” and has been published in several on-line and print media outlets. He has published both straightforward and “tongue-in-cheek” political opinions on local and statewide issues.
Gene wants to represent the Great Rivers Group on the Chapter Executive Committee and serve as a voice for all the smaller groups in the Cumberland Chapter.