Environment

Louisville is losing approximately 54,000 trees a year — according to a 2015 study — and city partners are ramping up education efforts to encourage tree planting on private land.

To help, the Partnership for a Green City is hosting an Urban Tree Symposium this Saturday to teach people about the various aspects of urban trees — from pests to pruning to environmental benefits.

Partnership for a Green City director Brent Fryrear said often, city dwellers are apprehensive about trees because of worries about maintenance. But the benefits outweigh any pitfalls like leaf raking.

“Most people don’t understand the carbon that trees take in and sequester, that just the availability of trees can change a flooding situation by absorbing stormwater,” Fryrear said. “We want people to understand the basic value of trees, taking it back to that.”

Trees also play a huge role in helping to mitigate the urban heat island, which is a growing problem in Louisville.

The Partnership generally puts on several symposia a year, but Fryrear said this is the first focused solely on trees.

“We want people to understand what the value and the benefits of trees are upfront and so they will be able to manage their trees at home, hopefully, or in their neighborhood,” he said. “Also take the education out from a really stellar set of speakers that are passionate about trees and infuse that passion throughout the community.”

Speakers include Jill Jonnes, who wrote “Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape”; University of Kentucky Horticulture professor Bill Fountain and Limbwalker Tree owners Chris O’Bryan and Cory Petry. The event will end with a tree giveaway sponsored by Louisville Metro’s Division of Community Forestry.

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Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL. She is also Enterprise Editor.