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IdeaFestival Bowling Green 2020

Land and Legacy:
Building Ideas That Will Last

All videos produced by Vid Monster Productions

2020 Highlights

Speakers Sessions 

Session 1: Re-Imagining Our Relationship to the Land 

Kellyn LaCour-Conant: Making Connections: How Are Goji Berries, Oysters, and KFC Related?  
I want you to keep that big picture in mind — that everything we do in life is not happening in this little bubble, like “this is me, this is what I do, nothing outside of me matters.” Everything's interconnected. When you think about solutions to these challenges that you might face in life, try to think expansively —imagine how you can go beyond those simple solutions and remember that we’re all connected — and that’s a really great thing. 
Kellyn LaCour-Conant, a coastal resources scientist for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, is a wetland scientist and a daughter of Isle Brevelle. Having worked in restoration ecology for over 10 years, she’s knowledgeable about many different ecosystems and traditional relationships with nature. Kellyn grew up learning about wildlife from her family and went on to earn a bachelor’s in biology from Amherst College and a master’s in marine and environmental biology from Nicholls State University. She now works for CPRA in Baton Rouge to advance Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.  


Timothy Kercheville: Farming with Refugees: The Story of a Refugee Farmer Commercial Garden

Consider how you in the future can partner with your civic institutions and organizations and re-imagine the land that’s right in front of you, to bring those Kentucky skills that you’ve got with the soil and rethink our agricultural economy so that it benefits everyone, not just people who own farms, but even refugees who come to this country and so that it protects our ecosystems. 

Farm manager at International Center of Kentucky, Timothy Kercheville is a full-time farmer and agriculture consultant who discovers cooperative and regenerative agricultural solutions for both urban and rural settings.  He contracts as a farmer/consultant with private properties, organizations, and public institutions across Kentucky and Tennessee to build new farms, improve existing farm systems, transform lawns to gardens, or serve as a farm manager. All the systems he designs are biodiverse and food-productive and combine agriculture with education.  


Shelby Rader: Looking Beyond: How Geology Can Shape Our Understanding of the World Around Us

Today we are talking about legacies that last, and I can’t think of anything more appropriate than geology. Rocks themselves tell us a story of our earth's history through billions and billions of years, and from that information we’re able to make predictions about what our earth will look like billions of years into the future. I want you all to think as you move forward, and particularly today, what are rocks you’ve passed every single day? What are some of the stories they tell you? 

Dr. Shelby Rader,  assistant research scientist in geochemistry at Indiana University, is a geochemist who originally hails from Irvine, Kentucky. She gradated from The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky and received her bachelor’s degree in geology and chemistry from WKU before obtaining her doctorate in geochemistry from the University of Arizona. Afterwards, Shelby completed a postdoctoral researcher position at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, then moved to Indiana University, where she currently works. Through her research, Shelby is able to observe how large-scale geologic processes, both from the past and currently, alter the geochemistry of our environment, ultimately impacting plant and animal life, our resources, and us.


Session 1 Question and Answer Panel with emcee Brett Riley



Speaker Session 2: How Ideas Become Legacies


Samantha Fore: Work Hard and Be Nice to People: The Mantra of My Authenticity

I looked for my place for years, and I finally found it by doing what I love to do. I love to share, I like to connect, especially over food. Food breaks boundaries.

Samantha Fore,  chef and owner of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, is a a first-generation Sri Lankan-American from Lexington. She started her pop-up restaurant in 2016 after traditional Sri Lankan brunches in her home outgrew her dining room. One of the few representations of Sri Lankan cuisine in the country, Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites reflects Sam’s Sri Lankan upbringing in the American South; its menus include her spins on southern classics and riffs on her mother's time-tested recipes. Her work has been featured in Food & Wine and Bon Appétit. She is a 2019 Smith Fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and was selected as one of Plate Magazine’s 2018 Chefs to Watch.


Gerry Seavo James: Don’t Do It for the Clout

I get some pushback on the work I do. Outdoor recreation is a white-majority activity, so I push diversity, equity, and inclusion, and people think that I’m trying to uproot them or change things — no, but more people need to be able to do these activities — more people need to be able to enjoy our various ecosystems. Hearing the music of my region has always been like hearing the inside of my own heart, full of love and admiration and concern for the mountains that I call home.

Gerry Seavo James, founder of The Explore Kentucky Initiative and the Waterman Series, promotes adventure tourism, environmental protection, and community and cultural exploration across Kentucky and beyond. Through the Explore Kentucky Initiative and The Waterman Series, and through his past service as a steering committee member for the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange, he has worked with communities on outdoor recreational events, branding initiatives, conservation projects, and more. An avid paddler, he was given a National Leadership Award by the American Canoe Association. He also uses photography, cinematography, and journalism to tell stories about the landscapes and people he encounters; in 2017, Lexonomics named him the most impactful artist in the Bluegrass.



Larah Helayne: Roots: Reckoning with My Home and Finding Belonging Through Traditional Appalachian Music

Hearing the music of my region has always been like hearing the inside of my own heart, full of love and admiration and concern for the mountains that I call home.

Larah Helayne is an 18-year-old singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and activist from Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Larah grew up in the foothills of the Appalachias, and her life and music have been greatly impacted by the magnificence of the mountains. Her work reflects both the beauty and struggles of living in Eastern Kentucky and weaves in the story of her own wild and wonderful life. Her songs possess a startling honesty and an unfaltering hope and captivated the audience at TEDx Corbin in March 2019


Session 2 Question and Answer Panel with emcee Brett Riley


Minds-On, Hands-on Activities

Clowning Happy Gas Improv
Using a microscope Sam Fore and Jerry James
Tim Kercheville Beyond the Bin station


3-D Printing Lab. Presented by the WKU Small Business Accelerator

Be a Magician. Presented by Steve Causey, “Mr. Magic”        

Black History Month Art Exhibit. Presented by WKU Intercultural Student Engagement Center

Busy as a Bee. Presented by the Warren County Beekeepers            

Clowning. Presented by Nick Wilkins, “Broadway the Clown”

Discovering and Investigating Anatomy. Presented by the BioAmbassadors the WKU Department of Biology

Idea Lab: Literacy Meets Technology! Presented by the Warren County Public Library Idea Lab

Improv Comedy Workshop. Presented by the Happy Gas Improv Troupe

Entrepreneurship Economics. Presented by the WKU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

A Legacy of Ideas: the IFBG 2020 Mural. Presented by Andee Rudloff 

Letterpress Printing Demonstration. Presented by WKU’s branch of AIGA, the professional association for design

Make A Monster (with Poetry). Presented by Christian Butterfield, senior at Bowling Green High School and Scholastic National Student Poet 

Pitching Yourself: How to Avoid Blank Stares When People Ask You about Yourself. Presented by the WKU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Poets by Accident. Presented by Caroline Sutphin, student in the WKU Department of English’s Creative Writing Program      
Relief Printing. Presented by WKU’s Printmaking Club

Smartphone Microscopes. Presented by Rico Tylor of WKU’s SKyTeach

Speaker Chats.

Spirograph Designs. Presented by Arts for All Kentucky      

Stop Motion Animation. Presented by the Kentucky Science Center

Tactile and Audio Science Discovery. Presented by American Printing House for the Blind             

Top of the Hill Idea Wall. Presented by the WKU Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization 

Willow Furniture Making and Weaving. Presented by Walk the Willow

Video Game Lab. Presented by Jennifer Emberton of Franklin-Simpson Middle School


3D Pen Printing Top 5 Designs 

(presented in no particular order)

Andrea Huley Jack Rousseau Joyce Dominguez

Andrea Huley
Greenwood High School

Jack Rousseau
Anchorage Independent Schools

Joyce Dominguez

Wayne County Schools

    Lucy Moncayo Noah Ferguson

Luci Moncayo
Winburn Middle School

Noah Ferguson
Winburn Middle School


Winner of Best Pitch at the WKU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Pitch Yourself Station

Kaylie Poole of Meade County High School


SponsorsVid Monster

The Vid Monster vision is to redefine the consumer's experience, one city at a time, through effective creative content and promotional solutions, and to capture and share the special moments that happen within our community. We are a video production and photography company that focuses on telling stories in new and innovative ways. From small business and corporate, to weddings and special moments, to music videos and documentaries, we can create it all.


Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce logo

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region. 



The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky is a residential program for bright, highly motivated Kentucky high school students who have demonstrated interest in pursuing advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Housed on the campus of Western Kentucky University, students take college classes, engage in faculty-led research, and have the ability to study abroad while living in a supportive community of like-minded peers.
In short, students in Kentucky can apply for our program during their sophomore year of high school, and if accepted, they will spend their junior and senior year on WKU’s main campus while remaining enrolled in their sending school. Furthermore, the tuition, meals and housing costs for our students are covered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, so any student in the state is eligible to apply if the program meets their interests and abilities.


At AT&T, we’re bringing it all together. We deliver advanced mobile services, next-generation TV, high-speed internet and smart solutions for people and businesses. That’s why we’re investing to be a global leader in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry.


The WKU Small Business Accelerator and Central Region of the Kentucky Innovation Network partner together to offer programs and services to WKU students, entrepreneurs, start-up and early stage companies in 21 counties across KY. With the goal of fostering and supporting a growth-focused entrepreneurial community, the programs are designed to create optimal conditions for entrepreneurs and business owners to establish and grow their businesses and ultimately be successful in a highly competitive economy. Accelerator and Innovation Network staff look for the needs of individuals and leverage strategic partnerships to help them move in the right direction. Support provided includes business development consulting, connections to local, state & federal funding options, access to rapid prototyping, mentoring, connections to critical resources, training, networking, shared office space and more. For more information, call 270-901-3490 or visit our sites: 


Making Connections to and for Entrepreneurial Students!


IdeaFestival Bowling Green Just Imagine logo

February 15, 2024

Western Kentucky University

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