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Cabinet employees spread message of conservation at Reforest Frankfort

By Carrie Searcy

Office of the Secretary

Despite the rainy weather, droves of people showed up at Josephine Sculpture Park Saturday, April 14 to plant about 2,000 tree seedlings and support Reforest Frankfort, Kentucky.

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A family at the event looks to pick a spot to begin work.

Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) employees were among the volunteers and could be seen planting trees, showing community members proper technique and working informational booths.

“Community reforestation events are important for many reasons,” said Bridget Abernathy an Environmental Scientist III with the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF). “They help engage the volunteers, educate community about why trees are important and create a stewardship ethic. These events would not be possible without the dedication and interest from hundreds of community members- whether they come out to plant one tree, or spend the day at the event.”

Twenty three  species of trees, purchased from the KDF tree nurseries, were planted during the event. When grown, the trees will clean the air, manage storm waters, prevent erosion, slow winds and buffer noises, and give a welcome vista.

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Lee Colten, far right, chats with friends at the event.

Lee Colton, the Assistant Director for the Department for Energy Development and Independence, was one of the many volunteers who showed up for the event.  “I have participated almost every year since it started 10 years ago,” Colton said. “The location this year, Josephine Sculpture Park, has become this really fun community destination, providing workshops, arts and community events, and really bringing in a diverse population that might not otherwise participate in these kinds of things.”

Attendees were able to learn about the ecosystem needed for trees to thrive. Dale Booth, an Environmental Scientist with the state’s Division of Water explained nonpoint source pollution using macroinvertebrates to demonstrate stream health. Dragonfly nymphs, mayflies, snails and leeches spend some or all of their life-cycles in streams and their presence – and health – can demonstrate water quality.

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Dale Booth uses a model called an Enviroscape, which is used to talk about and demonstrate what a watershed is.

“Trees in a watershed help prevent erosion, reduce stormwater runoff, filter pollution and shade creeks, all of which all helps to protect healthy water,” said Booth. “Events like Reforest Frankfort helps to build community engagement and educate the public, providing benefits for all.”

Along with the planting, attendees enjoyed a reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation by Frankfort Mayor May, a Tree City USA Award and a Growth Award presentation. Local school children received art contest awards , as well as door prizes, music, food, exhibits, free t-shirts and a tree seedling for everyone to take home.

“Reforest Frankfort is a great event,” said Booth. “It am so encouraged to see so many folks turn out for it this year because we are all a part of the watershed and the decisions we make can directly impact the water that we all use.”

To properly plant the trees volunteer would first  dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate roots (highly variable root systems depending on tree species), place the tree in the hole, backfill with dirt and place the “weed mat” over the seedling.  The mat is pinned to the ground at four corners by metal sod pins. The weed mat has a hole in the middle for the seedling to grow through, and the mat prevents competition from surrounding vegetation during the early years of growth.

To properly plant the trees, volunteers would first dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots of the tree seedling. They would then place the seedling in the hole, backfill with dirt and place the “weed mat” over the seedling and pin the mat down. The weed mat has a hole in the middle for the seedling to grow through, and the mat prevents competition from surrounding vegetation during the early years of growth.

Learn the proper way to plant a tree and see one of our professionals demonstrate the correct technique and talk about why reforestation is so important here,with Bridget Abernathy.

Video by Lanny Brannock

Photos By Carrie Searcy

 

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