Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
Environmental Protection

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About the Awards Program

Kentucky's remarkable natural resources have helped shape our economy, culture and history. These resources also provide us with the responsibility of good stewardship. This requires vision, commitment and determination on the part of the agency, Kentucky’s citizens and the individuals and companies governed by Kentucky’s environmental requirements. 

While our mission at the Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth's environment, we know that individuals, businesses and organizations are committed to protecting and improving Kentucky’s environment. DEP proudly recognizes and encourages such environmental excellence in the Commonwealth through the department's Environmental Excellence Awards Program. ​

Award Categories​
Award pic collage with descriptions listed below.

One award is given annually for each of the following award categories. 

​Environmental Pacesetter ​

​​Con​ducts exemplary and innovative efforts to protect the environment and set an example of environmental stewardship for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Special consideration will be given to nominations that demonstrate a comprehensive approach to environmental issues and highlight the relationships between environmental benefit and associated social and economic benefit. ​

Resource Caretaker ​

Demonstrates progress in furthering the conservation or improvement of Kentucky’s natural resources. Nominations may include the revitalization of underutilized or contaminated land, land management and preservation, habitat restoration, recycling programs, pollution prevention, water-use reductions, and energy efficiency.  ​

Community Environmental Luminary 

Recognition for achievements in community-based environmental education and outreach. Environmental education may be organized efforts to teach about how natural environments function and, particularly, how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystems in order to live sustainably. Environmental education and outreach may include mentoring activities. Nominations should identify the benefits to the local or regional target areas in which the nominee operates or is focused.​

KY EXCEL Champion ​​ ​

A KY EXCEL member that demonstrates outstanding stewardship and achieves positive benefits for Kentucky's environment. Nominations must be for a current, active KY EXCEL member and may highlight activities that range from energy conservation, to improving air quality, to minimizing waste, to incorporating citizens to participate in positive environmental stewardship behaviors. More information about KY EXCEL and its members​.

How to Nominate

​Every year, public nominations for the Environmental Excellence Awards are accepted from April 1 to June 30 electronically only by e-mailing In the Environmental Excellence Awards Information Packet, you will find information on how to make a nomination, determine who is eligible, the selection process and the nomination form. If you are an environmental steward or know someone who is, we encourage you to apply. Please help us recognize those individuals, organizations and businesses that on a daily basis commit to exemplary environmental performance.

 ​For more information or assistance, or to apply, contact us by emailing or calling 502-782-6189.​​