LEXINGTON, Ky. — Environmentalists across Kentucky are working to protect the state’s nearly 120 different species of native trees. 

What You Need To Know

  • Tree Week brings awareness to local environmental issues

  • Over the next few days, students and staff are lending a hand at the lobby of the Newtown classroom building

  • Events are being held throughout the week for the annual celebration

Students and staff from the Bluegrass Community and Technical College and the University of Kentucky’s Urban Forest Initiative say invasive species, air pollution and storm run-off are the biggest threat to Kentucky’s tree canopy.

Painting fingers green is BCTC Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science Tracy Knowles. She says students can also explore their local greenery with tree walks and data collecting.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College professors from left to right: Professor of Biotechnology, Audrey Law and professor of Chemistry and Environmental science, Tracy Knowles smiles next to the tree-artwork. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“We’re going to start on this campus taking a tree inventory for the campus so that we can be mindful in the future of trees that we buy and plant” “

In June, UK’s Urban Forest Initiative found that nearly 80% of the trees in just one of Lexington’s parks risked survival in Kentucky’s changing conditions.

Starting its restoration and preservation efforts in 2014, the urban forestry group set out to support, care for, and increase the campus and community’s tree canopy. Knowles says this has been one of the most successful years the project has seen since varying cities have taken on their own Tree Week initiatives.

“The importance of trees and moving forward how climate resilient they are with rising temperatures and climate change and so our tree week events, we also wanted to make fun,” said Knowles.

Hoping to continue spreading Kentucky’s diverse tree life, Knowles says students can spend time off campus getting involved.

Various tree’s are planted around the Newtown campus supporting a diverse tree environment. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

"You use an app on your phone to actually ID the trees so that they can go back to their homes and do a tree in their own yard and ‘UFI’ actually has a website called adopt-a-tree.”

This Friday students are meeting BCTC biology professor Dr.Norm Strobel for a morning of tree inventory and conversation.

The urban forest group encourages Kentuckians to practice proper tree care like regular watering and mulching of the ground to ensure the sustainability of the trees.