Mill Creek Elementary is located on Dixie Highway, very near the Shively Public Works office. This has turned out to be a boon for our planting project, because the principal at Mill Creek, Michelle Pennix, was really concerned about summer watering. Fortunately for Mill Creek, Shively Public Works has agreed to water the new trees over the summer months. The Mill Creek Project is an excellent example of collaboration. Jon Henney, local LA with Gresham Smith and Partners, design the campus tree planting project, and we received funding from LG&E-KU to buy the trees. The tree planting will transform the campus. Our Executive Board also received very nice thank you notes from the Mill Creek students.
When devising new planting projects, we strive to develop landscape plans that will not only improve the natural environment of the surrounding area but offer benefits that improve the health and wellness of the people living in that community. That’s one of our focuses for our upcoming project at Foster Traditional Academy, a JCPS elementary school located at South 41st Street in the Chickasaw neighborhood. Foster is a beautiful school with a large campus that has unfortunately seen its tree canopy decline in recent years, in part due to the loss of a number of ash trees. We saw a lot of potential in this campus because of the space available for lots of trees, and we also noticed that due to the school’s proximity to the Shawnee Expressway, the students who play on the soccer field are exposed to the air and noise pollution from passing cars.
The answer: a green screen! The landscape plan, done by our own Mike Hayman, includes a “screen” of trees planted along the periphery of the field. These trees will intercept air pollutants and act as a noise buffer against the traffic and create a healthier environment for the students and teachers.
Kathy Cail, a science teacher at Ballard High School contacted us about planting trees on their campus. They have recently lost several large trees due to natural causes and were looking to put in some replacements. Given the fact that the campus is so large, we enlisted the help of Amin Omidy, a local landscape Architect working in the TSW Design Group Louisville office. Amin outdid himself, choosing 235 mixed species to provide bountiful fall color for the campus. Needless to say, we aren’t planting them all this year.
When the principal, Dr. Nuess, first saw the plan, he seemed a little overwhelmed at the number of trees, but said they were all in on the maintenance. Coincidentally, Dr. Nuess was the AP at Doss High School when we planted there with Dr. Marty Pollio as principal, so he understands the transformative power of trees. The trees are looking great and the Beta and Science Clubs–and lots of parents– are lined up to water this summer. The PTSA is also donating to the project, and we expect more donations to come in from individual parents and alumni.
As our partnership with JCPS strengthens, so do opportunities do great things for our community’s young people. One of those opportunities arose when John DeMarsh (JCPS Head of Maintenance) visited Crums Lane Elementary to look at some trees on the grounds that are declining. He suggested to the principal, Anna Byrd, that she call us to see if we could help with replacements.
Coincidentally, Barry Edgar at the Louisville Metro Division of Community Forestry had almost simultaneously let us know that they were surveying some right of way planting locations in that area and she observed the lack of trees at the school. We took this as a sign! When we visited with Ms. Byrd, she was incredibly enthusiastic about the project and asked specifically that we plant trees with nuts so that the squirrels would have something to eat!
Tony Nold, a proprietor of The Plant Kingdom and one of our Operations Committee members, volunteered to help design the tree planting project. He chose evergreens for a screen along the adjacent neighborhood (our hope is that by seeing the new trees, the neighbors will be encouraged to plant their own!). Tony sited 80 native trees to provide mast-nuts and fruit for birds and squirrels
“Crums Lane Elementary wants to thank TreesLouisville for bringing the campus to life while giving our students the opportunity to experience nature. All students will take responsibility for the watering and care of the trees during the school year, having the opportunity to watch them grow. This learning experience will increase their understanding and awareness of their role in showing compassion and kindness while partnering with their peers to support the needs of the trees. We greatly appreciate the extended learning opportunities these trees will provide our students for decades!”
– Anna M. Byrd, Principal, Crums Lane Elementary
As another part of the Rotary Club of Louisville’s donation to TreesLouisville, they requested that we plant trees at Iroquois High School in the Iroquois neighborhood-which lost 14% of canopy during the 2015 UTC study period between 2004 and 2012. Working with the plant operator, we selected strategic locations that would not interfere with future building plans. We added trees to the perimeter of the amphitheater, along the parking lots and drives and in the front of the school.
St. Nicholas Academy, located on New Cut Road near Iroquois Park is a small school with very little room for new trees, but we were able to help them plant a dozen new trees-all Kentucky natives, with some special selections to provide shade and interest for their outdoor classroom. The 2 x 3 foot thank you note that we received from St. Nicholas is super special!
Located in Fern Creek, Saint Gabriel is experiencing a new dynamic with their specially designed nature playground. We are happy to partner with the parish and the school to plant new trees on the campus. We got extra special help from the Pre-K students with the planting. They were able to discover lots of cool creatures as they were digging the planting holes.
Charlie Marsh, TreesLouisville Board Member Extraordinaire, offered to fund additional tree plantings for the EastPoint Gateway, as well as trees for the State Right of Way along La Grange Road and the gore (which is a term that describes a triangular piece of land between two larger tracts) at the Gene Snyder Freeway and La Grange Road intersection that faces the EastPoint property. Charlie has also been instrumental in connecting us with property owners in Riverport to encourage them to plant trees on their sites. These are tremendous opportunities for canopy improvement in high heat/low canopy areas.
Our partnership with Jefferson Riverport International, a business park located in southwest Louisville, came about rather serendipitously. Initially, we contacted the Metro Division of Community Forestry to help us identify large green spaces prime for large tree planting projects. And identify they did — they presented us with a map for Riverport that revealed the potential opportunity for a whopping 7,700 trees! Since that discovery, we have worked with Riverport and some of the individual businesses to plant 27 trees this past spring. We have since performed a second round of planting and have installed small groves of trees around bus stops throughout the business park to provide shade for public transit riders and add some natural beauty. With a generous donation from the HDR engineering firm to fund tree planting and the help of HDR volunteers, we planted 28 trees one misty morning in October, including on the campus of The Center at Riverport, a JCPS preschool.
Beer and trees — could you ask for a better combo? We’re surely hard-pressed to think of one. Which is why we were thrilled when, back in April, we were contacted by the owners of Holy Grale, Gralehaus and the Louisville Beer Store about the opportunity to do an Earth Day Fundraiser at each of their locations. The event was a great success, and a portion of each sale was donated to fund tree planting projects in Districts 4 and 8 (where the businesses are located). Around that time, it just so happened that we were contacted by District 4 Council Representative Barbara Sexton-Smith with a plea to plant some trees on South Preston Street in the Shelby Park neighborhood. A neighborhood resident had been hard at work restoring a few homes in the area and, knowing how much value trees add to a city block, hoped to be able to get some trees installed in the tree wells along the street.
Originally a pavement-covered block with hardly a tree in sight, the Oak & Preston corner has now been transformed with the addition of a number of new tree wells, funded by District 4 Council Representative Barbara Sexton Smith, and 10 trees planted with help from Holy Grale volunteers along the sidewalk and in the front yards of a few homeowners. We couldn’t be happier with how the project turned out and hope we have a chance to expand upon this project in the future!
Ken Herndon, Director of Operations at Louisville Downtown Partnership, called to say that he is working with some of the Second Street businesses to enhance the streetscape. He wanted to get our opinion about a particularly challenging median area between Jefferson and Market.
We met at the site and the questions were: What would be appropriate species selections for the narrow median that is hot and dry? What will survive? The first thing that comes to mind are the native trees that will grow in poor soils.
It turns out, Mike Hayman, our Senior Adviser, had ordered several ‘Green Point’ Red Cedars (Juniperus virginiana) from one of our western Kentucky nurseries. ‘Green Point’ is a cultivar that was selected for market production because of its narrow growth habit and durability. Because it is a red cedar, it should survive and thrive at this site – think junipers growing on highway rock faces. So, we offered to donate the trees for the project.
But collaboration doesn’t end there; because the site is under the purview of the Kentucky Department of Transportation, we needed the approval of the Roadside Vegetation Administrator to plant. Cindy Marquel had, not coincidentally, used this particular cultivar at one of her other planting sites and has developed an appreciation of its characteristics. She said she would be happy to partner in the project to get the trees in the ground.
Maintenance at a site like this is critical for plant survival, especially in the first year or two of establishment. We consulted with Erin Thompson, Louisville Metro’s Urban Forester and Katie Doran at Metro Facilities. Katie had previously done some planting in the site: it was already on her maintenance list, so she agreed to water the junipers.
The trees were delivered and planted within a week’s time. And we have plans to enhance the planting site in the fall of 2017.
This is a classic example of how a successful project can come together when there is inter-agency cooperation and collaboration. It’s how we roll.
Kevin Bowling of Bowling Nursery and Landscaping worked with us to install the trees at Gilmore Lane Elementary last fall. Kevin is often described as a “can-do kind of guy”. We couldn’t agree more!
After finishing up the Gilmore Lane project, he was so moved by the difference the tree planting made that he decided he wanted to donate trees for a planting project at Audubon Elementary, a traditional magnet school on Hess Lane, this spring. Bowling has since planted 50 trees at Audubon, many of them behind the school in the area the students use for recreation.
We have enjoyed working with Kevin immensely, both as one of our trusted contractors and as a volunteer and donor.
We were really excited to learn that the Rubbertown Community Advisory Council (RCAC) wanted to donate trees to be planted at Farnsley Middle School this spring. We had the pleasure last fall to work with Carrie Buchanan, one of the Farnsley science teachers. She and her students were awarded a grant to plant 30 trees around the rear parking lot to help offset the urban heat island effect. They are planning to study the temperature in the area over time.
RCAC funded the planting of another 13 trees in the spring in the front of the school by the bus drop-off area and along the gym. We are looking forward to partnering on future projects with RCAC.
Additionally, Councilwoman Jessica Green (D-1) and Councilman Brandon Coan (D-8) funded the planting of 44 more trees in honor of the 44th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They dubbed the project “Planting O’ The Green”. Twenty-five of these trees were in 15-gallon containers and were planted by the students from the Environmental Club and others. We appreciate the JCPS Grounds Crew coming out and pre-digging the planting holes with an auger! (The trees were heavy enough!) The remaining 19 trees were planted along the walking path that is well-used by neighborhood residents. We received plenty of “thank you’s” from the walkers as we were planting!
The plant operator at Cochran Elementary contacted TreesLouisville to ask if we could help get some trees planted on their campus. Even though the school makes some pretty good spending money by utilizing the grounds for parking during the St. James Art Fair, the administration still wanted to pack in as many trees as possible around the playground areas that the students use. Tucked in between the beautiful Victorian houses in Old Louisville and the main campus of UofL, Cochran sits in one of Louisville’s “hot spots” indicated by the 2015 Urban Heat Management Study. The addition of Cochran’s new trees will help mitigate the heat island effect in the area.
Thanks to the generosity of TreesLouisville Executive Board member Charlie Marsh, Gilmore Lane Elementary now has new trees in the front of the school. Mr. Marsh has underwritten the entire planting of 70 trees. This is just the beginning! Phase two will be installed in Autumn of 2017. The school will also be receiving some help with fundraising for new playground equipment to go along with their new trees.
On November 21st, a press conference was held with Mayor Fischer and the Community Foundation of Louisville at Gilmore Lane to announce that TreesLouisville had become the recipient of a $1,000,000 Matching Grant. Students from the school helped to plant a blackgum tree at the front of the building.
YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/lsE4FXZb-sA
The project at Goldsmith Lane Elementary started after we received a call from John DeMarsh at JCPS Maintenance. He told us that he had received a request for a building notification to plant trees and asked if we wanted to meet there to talk about tree planting. One of the teachers had brought in some small tulip poplars from his property and wanted to plant them with his students. We thought that was a great idea but noticed that the campus needed some larger trees as well.
Goldsmith Elementary shares its campus with Seneca High School and The Binet School. There is a soccer field behind the school, and fortunately it’s placed so that almost two sides have a nice sloped area that allows for an elevated view of the field. We were able to plant trees up on the slope that will eventually provide shade for family and friends that will be sitting on the sidelines watching the games. As well as around the field, we planted shade trees around the play equipment area, so the kids and teachers will be able to stay nice and cool in the warmer months!
In another area of the campus, there are walkways between the buildings. We noticed that this area tends to hold water due to inadequate drainage. In order to remedy the situation, we chose to plant London planes and black gums because these trees can handle the extra moisture. As they grow, they will also help with the drainage problems. A mature London plane tree can pull as much as 300 gallons of water up out of the soil every single day!
Elif Ozyurekoglu is a student at Manual High School. She contacted TreesLouisville this year because some of her classmates had begun a discussion about planting and caring for trees on the campus. Manual’s campus (with a very iconic building) is located in Old Louisville, which has some beautiful old trees, but the overall canopy in the neighborhood is still quite low at only 25%. The students organized a volunteer planting day and accomplished the planting of 42 trees (after plenty of pizza and soft drinks, of course!). We partnered with Matt Spaulding of the Olmsted Parks Team for Healthy Parks, Robert Woodford and Charlotte Jones to provide the instructions for proper tree planting and mulching.
Most of the trees we planted were bare root trees that we had shipped in from J. Frank Schmidt, one of the nation’s largest wholesale growers. Bare root trees are interesting to work with because they can be sizable 2″ diameter trees, upwards of 12 feet tall, but because the roots don’t have soil around them, they are light enough to carry over your shoulder — much easier than a 300lb balled and burlapped tree. Another advantage of these bare root trees is that they tend to be much less expensive than balled and burlapped trees. The caveat is that the root systems need to be kept consistently moist until they get planted in the ground. Therefore, they do require some extra care when moving and they need to be planted as soon as possible once they arrive from the West.
Elif and her friends learned a lot and got some great experience and are looking forward to taking turns to make sure that the trees get watered over the summer. If you happen to be passing by the campus, you can see the trees around the softball field, in the student/teacher parking lot, and in the front of the school. Great work, students!
Thanks to the generosity of the Gilbert Foundation, Moore Traditional School now boasts 22 new trees. The Gilbert Foundation is the primary sponsor of the tree planting. This is just the first phase of work to be done at Moore Traditional, which has classes from 6th through 12th grade.
The next phase of landscape design will include two new “no-mow” reforestation areas. The idea for these two plantings is to begin to create a green screen between the school and the adjacent bus depot and to eliminate mowing on a very steep slope between Moore Traditional and Smyrna Elementary. There will still be a wide swath cut through the area to provide access to the natural woodland area that the students use for nature walks. The reduction is mowing provides safer working conditions for the grounds crew and will help to improve the drainage and erosion problems along the side of the school.
Slaughter Elementary School sits right on Fern Valley Road, where there is a serious amount of car and truck traffic. The school also happens to be sited in an area of very poor drainage. Slaughter has worked with MSD on improving the draining with naturalized, reforestation areas, but still had many areas of the campus without shade. The principal made a request of the ground staff for more trees.
The planting design at Slaughter starts at the front of the school with some Swamp White Oaks to provide pollution interception from the road. The oaks are underplanted with Redbud cultivars.
The playground area will also benefit from the planting of more oaks and some Red Maples that can tolerate the “wet feet” that comes with poor drainage. Around the parking area, we planted a fruitless cultivar of hedge apple that is known for its tolerance of poor soils and pollution — a very tough urban tree.
The rear of the property, where water stands for long periods when it is rainy, is planted with Bald Cypress, Pond Cypress, and Sycamores. These are all trees that will be very useful for pulling some of the excess water out of the area.
We are all familiar with the scholarships that are awarded annually to deserving public high school student through the generosity of the Henry Vogt, Sr. Endowment. At this year’s luncheon celebration, TreesLouisville provided centerpieces that consisted of 8 bald cypress seedlings for each person at the table to take home with them. Additionally, each principal received a 5-foot tree to plant at their high school in honor of their student award recipient. This resulted in the distribution of 180 healthy whips — 30 of which went to The Parklands for a planting project — and 15 new trees.
Austin Young and David Burns are two artists/activists from Los Angeles that are currently working on a new art installation for Proof on Main at 21C Museum and Hotel. They have also been creating Urban Fruit Trails in communities where they work called the Endless Orchard. Part helping to feed the masses with fresh fruit, part living artwork, this project helps communities plant donated fruit trees on spaces along sidewalks and fences. Fruit that can be picked by any passerby and enjoyed by all.
TreesLouisville donated 21 fruit trees, and working with volunteers from 21C, Louisville Grows, and the artists, the trees were planted in the Portland Orchard Project on Main Street at 21st Street.
To celebrate 30 years of building homes in Louisville, Habitat for Humanity approached TreesLouisville to partner with them to provide trees for clients’ homes. TreesLouisville donated 15 trees that were planted by Habitat volunteers from Saint Xavier High School, Mercy Academy and Sacred Heart Academy in the Fall of 2015 in neighborhoods targeted by the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment.
Mike Hayman, Senior Advisor and the Best Volunteer Ever, has worked with the Center for the last three years planting about 80 trees there in one square block over the past 3 years from a variety of sources, mostly Brown Forman donations through Brightside.
Continuing as a TreesLouisville managed project, three 4″ Emerald City Tulip Poplars were planted on Muhammad Ali Street in December 2015. The Russell neighborhood has an overall tree canopy coverage of 21%; these large trees will help make a powerful impact.
In the early hours of January 16, 2009, the historic Portland Ave. Presbyterian Church burned in a 3-alarm fire. Located at Portland Avenue and N 31st St., all that remains of the original 116-year old structure is the bell tower. In the years since that fateful morning, the church has found a new home in the lot adjacent to the site of the original building. The renovation of the property, previously occupied by Kroger, began in 2010 and has come a long way since — it now houses not only a space for worship, but also offers a community center, food pantry and clothing closet for the needy. The PAPC is also working towards obtaining LEED certification for the building, which has been outfitted with a green roof and other environmentally friendly features. Despite all this development, the property still lacked landscaping and a respite from the concrete and asphalt that covered the parking lot and entrance. With tree and labor donations from Ecotech, members of the Louisville Nursery Association (Denzil’s Lawn & Landscape, Riverfarm Nursery, Kenton Abrams) and TreesLouisville, 30 trees were installed in front of the church on February 16th. Where cracked concrete once existed, now trees will grow to provide calming views, shade and a space for peaceful congregation in Portland.
Home of the Hilltoppers, Barret Traditional Middle School is a beautiful edifice perched high on a hill overlooking Grinstead Drive. Some of the original designs for the school were done by the Olmsted Brothers firm while they were in Louisville working on our Olmsted Parks.
Richard Wolford, a long-time nurseryman and landscape designer, is a Barret alumnus who offered to donate some of his very special and unusual horizontal ginkgoes to the school. To keep with the symmetrical design of the school, we placed 8 ginkgoes on the front slope along the stairs. They will provide an exceptional show of fall color. Richard also donated three bald cypress trees for a steep slope by the front parking lot. These trees will help control erosion along the slope and add visual interest.
With a new principal in place at the beginning of the 2015 school year, Doss High School was ripe for change. Marty Pollio and his staff are very enthusiastic about new trees for the campus to improve ecosystem services, as well as the look and the feel of the school, and to better connect it to the neighborhood. Nearly 100 trees were planted in December 2015 on the 41-acre campus. Before planting, the Doss campus had a canopy cover of only 4%.
Indian Trail Elementary School is lucky to have dedicated teachers like Betsy Ruhe. Betsy served as a volunteer on the Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Commission and has faithfully planted and tended trees on the campus. When we approached the principal, Mr. Wood, about more trees on the campus, he was a little hesitant, concerned about the extra work the trees would require. Betsy stepped up and assumed responsibility. Mr. Wood was very happy with his decision to proceed with planting when he saw the size and condition of the trees that we provided. The trees will provide shade for teacher parking, playground equipment, and will help absorb some of the water that typically stands in certain areas of the campus.
The science teacher at JFK, Ms. Holthouser, keeps raised bed vegetable gardens and butterfly waystations with the students in the playground at the school. The teachers and administration at the school were really interested in having more trees in the playground area for study and shade and to support the vegetable and butterfly gardens. The students are really excited about their 25 new trees and have been hands-on in caring for the trees. The students have been helping to weed and mulch the area around the new trees. Ms. Holthouser has committed to keeping the trees watered over the summer months.
Kenwood is an English as Second Language school that is located in the Southwest Metro in the Auburndale neighborhood. The walking path at Kenwood is well-used by neighbors, and the side yard is home to a school soccer league. Members of the Auburndale Neighborhood Association do annual cleanups with Brightside and requested that new trees be planted to take the place of the declining trees on the campus. Some of the Kenwood students came out to watch as the 15-foot-tall Honey Locusts were being planted. If it looks like they are casually dressed, it’s because we were there on Pajama Day. The students enjoyed an out-0f-uniform day to support Adopt A Village. They have chosen a village in Haiti to support with their fundraising. While the students were out with us, they asked some extremely well-informed questions! We think they will enjoy watering their trees and watching them grow.
The administrators and the Parent-Teacher Association and Lincoln Elementary truly understand the value of providing a state-of-the-art facility for nurturing creativity at school. They support both the indoor learning environment and the outdoor. TreesLouisville has worked with Lincoln Elementary administrators and custodial staff to plant a diverse selection of species of trees that provide the ecosystem services of air quality improvement, stormwater management, and mitigation of the heat island effect so important to an urban school. We also believe that horticulture is a perfect blend of art and science, so we have also incorporated species and cultivars that showcase more artistic features like contorted stems and varied leaf color.
TreesLouisville’s partnership with Lincoln Elementary began in early 2016, where we worked with the school’s administrators and custodial staff to plant a diverse selection of species of trees that provide the ecosystem services of air quality improvement, stormwater management, and mitigation of the heat island effect so important to an urban school. The addition of trees helped to provide shade for outdoor spaces and soften the abundance of concrete, but our ability to plant more trees was limited due to the amount of hardscaping. So, what did we do? We made room! Fast-forward to this autumn: thanks to donations from local companies JBS, White Clay, and Plumbers Supply and the Lincoln Elementary PTA, we were able to install a series of sidewalk cuts along Market St. and Wenzel St. and planted 13 new trees in a neighborhood that has one of the lowest tree canopy covers in Louisville. We look forward to when these trees will be tall enough to shade the playground and cool the hot concrete in summertime!
Maupin Elementary is located on Catalpa Street in the Parkland neighborhood. TreesLouisville provided planting design and installation and Eco-Tech Environmental Services donated the trees for a Campus Enhancement in December 2015. Approximately 50 trees have been planted thus far, with plans for several more species to be added at a later date.
Before planting, Maupin’s tree canopy percentage was at 4.6%. These new trees will have an immediate impact on the air quality, stormwater mitigation, and the health of the children and the surrounding neighborhood. (Plus, they got to have a little collateral fun in the skid loader!)
Located in southwest Jefferson County, Medora Elementary is a neighborhood school with a very enthusiastic science teacher that appreciates the value of trees from the esoteric aspects to their use as teaching tools. We were amazed that Justin Moreschi actually requested a female ginkgo tree to be able to use for science studies. And we found him one! The physical education teacher, Phil Evans utilizes the more than ½ mile walking track daily for his classes.
The planting of more than 80 trees in December 2015 will help shade that track, and will provide many opportunities for interdisciplinary study, in addition to the environmental and aesthetic improvements to the school grounds that trees provide.
On Friday, January 15th, a press conference was held at Medora with Mayor Greg Fischer in attendance, and students helped to plant a Swamp White Oak on the school grounds.
YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/ida1qy6t6os
Henry Heuser, Jr. has been tutoring students at Roosevelt-Perry Elementary since the inception of Every1Reads in 2004. Recognizing that exposure to the natural environment in schoolyards has positive effects on the learning environment and student performance, Mr. Heuser volunteered to sponsor the planting of new trees in the playground space and the newly remodeled front of the school. TreesLouisville has planted 21 new trees on the campus and plans to add a few more in the coming planting seasons.
The librarian at Shacklette Elementary, Mrs. Trompeter, contacted us through our website. She heard about our work and asked for our help. When the new additions were made at the school, the library was designed with long windows that face southwest. She and the students were forced to keep the window shades closed because the sun was so hot coming in the windows. She was looking for shade! When we went to look at the school, we found that there were no trees to provide shade for the walking track or play equipment either.
The principal, Mr. Garnett, was thrilled to have the UK Landscape Architecture students come to look at the campus and create a design plan. Our focus for tree planting is on the front walking track, which is also well-used by neighbors exercising and dog walking, and the playground area, again, utilized by students and neighbors alike (and of course, the library). The design features mostly native trees, a total of 89 trees so far, with plans to add more in the coming planting seasons. The office staff says that neighbors stop by almost daily to say they love the new look.
We use the word “synchronicity” a lot at TreesLouisville. The Stopher Elementary story is certainly a great example of synchronicity. We were contacted by Steve Dalton through our website. He had seen one of the newspaper articles about us and decided to ask for some help with trees since he is the Chair of the Beautification Committee at Stopher. We had some bare root trees that we had ordered from the west coast, so we gave him five trees to plant on the campus with student volunteers.
At about the same time, we got an email from Raymond Smith, a partner at Boehl Stopher & Graves LLP, a law firm here in Louisville. One of the founding partners was Joe Stopher, the namesake of Stopher Elementary. A long-time partner at the law firm passed away last year and the firm wanted to plant a tree at Stopher Elementary in his memory. We were able to recommend and facilitate the planting of a Scarlett oak as a memorial tree as well.
On a foggy Monday morning in February, the staff at Medora Elementary in southwest Louisville gathered outside of the school campus to pay tribute to the late Dr. Betsy Pickup, the principal at Medora who passed away in July 2016.
A deciduous magnolia, planted in Dr. Pickup’s honor, was installed by Robert Woodford using the old-fashioned bareroot method, which allows more roots to be saved than the ball and burlap method. Following a dedication speech, faculty and family members were invited to help mulch the tree. A collection from children, teachers, family, and friends paid for the Spectrum Magnolia, an old variety from the National Arboretum which is rarely available.
Opened in 2012, Unseld ECLC provides outstanding educational and service opportunities for its students. It is a beautiful, state of the art facility, with an unfortunate lack of outdoor playground amenities. TreesLouisville partnered with Wes Griffith, a University of Kentucky Landscape Architecture student interested in Early Childhood Development through outdoor play to create an “Outdoor Adventureland” that includes flowering trees, trees with varied bark texture and leaf color and, as the trees grow, lots of shade. The concept is to stimulate all five senses and to develop mindfulness and a connection to the natural environment. We have planted 66 trees so far, with plans to add more in the future.
Opened in 2012, George Unseld Early Childhood Learning Center provides outstanding educational and service opportunities for its students. It is a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility, with an unfortunate lack of trees to provide shade for the outdoor playground. It is one of the campuses that led us to initiate a partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools that we call the Campus Tree Canopy Enhancement Program.
In the fall of 2015, one of TreesLouisville’s major donors attended a meeting at the facility and offered to help fund tree planting to enhance the school grounds. It was during the process of initiating our partnership with Unseld that we were exposed to the term “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Stephanie Johnson, the principal at the time, told us that Nature Deficit Disorder is a phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in The Woods, meaning that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. Richard Louv has stated “nature deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world.” It is a compelling argument to provide trees in the play area for the children.
In order to provide a thoughtful, comprehensive design for the project, TreesLouisville turned to Dr. Chris Sass at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Coincidentally, one of Dr. Sass’s senior-level students was very interested in Early Childhood Development through outdoor play. Wes Griffith developed a design for an “Outdoor Adventureland” that includes flowering trees, trees with varied bark texture and leaf shape and color, and as the trees grow, lots of shade. The concept is to stimulate all five senses and to help develop mindfulness and a connection to the natural environment.
The design also includes more trees in the parking areas to help mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect and improve air quality. Trees were also planted along the path outside the play area that is utilized by neighbors and students at the adjacent Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
One of the strengths of our campus enhancement partnership is that the principals, teacher, and plant operators have involved many of their students in caring for the trees. Since that isn’t really an option at Unseld, the JCPS Grounds Grews have really stepped up. We recently held an In-House Training Course using Unseld as the site for a hands-on training to provide Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Category 3 Ornamental and Pest Management Licenses. The project at Unseld ECLC represents everything that we hope to accomplish with our TL/JCPS Campus Tree Campus Enhancement Program. We want to create more pleasant learning environments for our students and expose them to nature. That is the reason we select tree species for diversity and design for texture, color, contrast and light direction. Working with all levels of the JCPS system creates ownership and value of the investment in trees and campus care. That is why we work hard to involve as many people as we can in our projects, including the surrounding neighborhoods. We are creating educational opportunities for all concerned. Our goal is to ensure that everyone understands and appreciates the value of the community forest.
Watson Lane is one of the more ambitious landscape designs provided to us by the students from the University of Kentucky’s Department of Landscape Architecture. The design called for a Line of Sight Structured Forest featuring over 95 trees.
Watson Lane sits in the shadow of the Mill Creek Power Plant. Seventy percent of the students are walkers or bike riders, so they will have a much more pleasant and interesting walk into school with the new plantings. They will also have shade for the playground, the walking path and the parking lot.