Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd, and we here at Louisville Family Fun want to help you plant a tree. According to Trees Louisville, the city’s tree canopy is averaging 37%, and is even down to 26% in some places. Things like weather and age are natural enemies of trees, and unless we replace those trees now the canopy is projected to reach as low as 20% in just the next 30-40 years. Decreases in the tree canopy can lead to hotter temperatures in the summertime, faster evaporation, and higher air pollution levels. Fortunately there are several easy ways to help.
Louisville Metro Tree Giveaways
If you are a resident of Jefferson County, the Metro Government does several tree giveaways each year with proof of residence, such as a driver’s license or utility bill. All of the trees given away are native to this area, which means they will be well suited to the climate and pose no threat to the other plants around them (unlike the infamous Bradford Pear). The next tree giveaway will be April 15th at UofL’s Ernst Hall from 4-6 p.m. There is a limit of 3 trees per Louisville residence, and you have to agree to plant and maintain the tree for its lifespan as well as some other rules. LG&E has some really helpful guidelines to make sure you plant the right tree in the right place – you don’t want to plant large trees near power lines and then have them knock out your power in 10 years. Also, be sure to call before you dig to make sure you aren’t digging near gas lines – it’s free!
LG&E Tree Planting Grants
Louisville Gas and Electric also offers one-time tree planting grants that range from $500-$5000 for community tree planting efforts. This would be a great way to get community service hours planting trees for a school, park, or community center, and if your organization has a successful record of planting trees you have a great shot at security these grant funds!
This organization targets those Louisville neighborhoods with low tree cover and goes out and plants trees in them. If you live in a neighborhood with low tree cover, you can contact Louisville Grows to request trees be planted in your neighborhood. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, Louisville Grows uses volunteers for tree planting days in those neighborhoods. And if you are looking to make a donation toward preserving the tree canopy in Louisville, Louisville Grows can help with that, too!
After the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment of 2015, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer launched this initiative to help grow and sustain Louisville’s tree canopy. Currently they have a $1 million fund matching offer for any donations they receive, so if you are looking to make your tree canopy donation go farther this is a great way to do it. They also partner with local nurseries to offer discounts on shade trees. Trees Louisville’s goal is to increase the shade canopy to at least 45% over the coming decades. Projects include tree plantings at local schools and churches as well as tree giveaways in neighborhoods with poor tree canopy coverage.
By Guest Contributor: Maggie