Former President Bill Clinton will be in Lexington on April 23 to celebrate Earth Day and bring attention to sustainability efforts by local students and leaders.
Clinton will speak to about 6,000 students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and community and state leaders from noon to 1 p.m. at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. His visit is in special recognition of the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council, a coalition of students from Fayette County public and private high schools.
Henry Clay High School senior Jane Brady Knight, who heads the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council, said she wrote to Clinton in February and invited him to visit. She got a "very positive" response from him about two weeks later, she said.
"I wrote him a letter because he is such an amazing voice for sustainability," she said. "I thought he'd be the perfect person to represent sustainability and congratulate our students on our passion for sustainability."
Knight, the daughter of Kelly Knight, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007 as a delegate for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, said she has been involved in politics from an early age and knew how to write a letter that would get Clinton's attention.
She said Clinton would not be paid for his Horse Park appearance.
The idea for the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council, which works with community partners to improve and find solutions to problems in all areas of sustainability, came at the end of the last school year. The organization got up and running at the beginning of this school year, Knight said.
"We volunteer at the Arboretum. We have an educational outreach committee that goes to elementary and middle schools," Knight said. The "green" topics she's most interested in are climate change, global warming, energy conservation and sustainability in schools.
"I think this event is really going to put us on the map and set an example nationwide," she said.
Another former president will be in Kentucky after Clinton. Bush is scheduled to visit Richmond on May 3 as part of a fund-raiser for St. Mark Roman Catholic Church and its school.