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Lexington to celebrate 25 years of tree plantings

Stu Johnson

Saturday will mark 25 years of coordinated and city-sponsored tree planting in Lexington. The annual Reforest the Bluegrass event is expected to attract hundreds of volunteers.

The spring-time tradition of planting tree seedlings returns to the original 1999 location; at Coldstream Park. Heather Wilson with Urban and Community Forestry said it’s important to have diversity in the Kentucky native trees put in the ground.

“If you have insects come through or pathogens come through and you have one species, you’re likely to lose that entire species…plus it encourages the growth and success of those pathogens or those insects that are problems,” said Wilson.

Wilson said the wide variety of trees bring in pollinators, help control runoff, and pull pollutants out of the air

Volunteers of all ages and abilities can plant trees between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday at Coldstream.

The following Saturday, the 20th, Fayette County residents can pick up free tree seedlings from 10 to 1 at the Living Arts and Science Center, Shillito Park, and Jacobson Park. Wilson noted that meets another need.

“Overall Lexington’s street canopy is 23%. Our goal is 30%. And LFUCG owned property is already at 33% and the need is really on private property. So, this is our way of trying to help spur that planting on private property,” said Wilson.

Wilson said the Reforest event at Coldstream will feature well over a dozen varieties of trees along with shrubs. Previous tree plantings were held at Masterson Station and Shillito Parks, Belleau Wood and Wellington Parks plus the Kentucky Horse Park. Wilson said it requires at least five acres of land to handle plantings with as many as 800 volunteers. Since 1999, some 18 thousand volunteers have planted more than 215,000 seedlings and restored more than 200 acres of floodplain.

Here's more with Heather Wilson:

4REFOREST.mp3

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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