Media mogul Ted Turner, founder of CNN, visited the Bluegrass State this weekend to promote environmental initiatives, including some that will help make the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games more green.
Turner was the guest of honor Saturday at a reception in Frankfort sponsored by Green Friends of the Games to raise money to place 30 permanent recycling bins at the Kentucky Horse Park. The reception raised $40,000, which will also help plant native trees and flowers along the banks of Cane Run Creek. The creek runs through the park's 1,200 acres.
Turner greeted Gov. Steve Beshear and Beshear's wife, Jane, and mingled with guests at the event, which was held at the Governor's Mansion. He made a few brief remarks and told guests that he plans to attend the Games, which start Sept. 25 at the Kentucky Horse Park. The park itself is working on more than $5 million in green initiatives.
A night earlier, Turner attended a Bluegrass Conservancy event in Woodford County that celebrated the decision of more than 50 Central Kentucky landowners to place 10,356 acres under conservation easements for protection. The event was held at Woodburn Farm on Old Frankfort Pike.
"This is a very, very special place, and it's worth saving," Turner said, adding that 10,000 acres "is a lot of land when you consider the average size of a farm. Thank goodness so much of it is protected."
Turner is the largest individual landowner in the United States with more than 2 million acres. He said he has 150,000 acres under conservation easements, and the rest of his holdings will be permanently protected upon his death.
Turner visits Lexington several times a year. His daughter, Jenny Garlington, her husband, Peek, and their family own a horse farm in Bourbon County.
The Turner Foundation is also contributing to the recycling project and restoration of Cane Run Creek.
"It's right up our alley, because we do all environmental efforts," Jenny Garlington said.
Garlington, who sits on the board of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, said she showed American Saddlebreds at the park "forever," long before her family moved to Central Kentucky a few years ago.
"I not only ride there, but I enjoy every aspect of the park," she said.
Turner is also a horse enthusiast, saying he rides about 100 days a year.
In addition to protecting land, Turner has been involved in several renewable-energy efforts. His most recent occurred in March when he teamed up with Southern Company, an Atlanta-based energy giant, in a joint venture to work on solar and wind projects.
Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy will construct the nation's largest solar power plant with 250 solar panels in northern New Mexico, Turner said Saturday. The plant could generate power for 14,000 homes, he said.