About 2,000 trees were planted Saturday as hundreds grabbed shovels and turned some dirt at Cove Spring Park for the 4th annual ReForest Frankfort.
Held on the first Saturday in April, Frankfort’s designated Arbor Day, ReForest Frankfort is an annual event sponsored by the city, with help from county, state and other local organizations, that encourages volunteers to plant trees and bring more foliage to Frankfort.
An estimated 600 people showed up Saturday, shovels out and gloves on, to help with the planting.
“I can do this with my eyes closed,” said 7-year-old DaNasia Parker, of Frankfort, as she finished planting an ash tree seedling.
The location switches each year between city and county. Last year, an estimated 600 people planted trees along Benson Valley Road near the Benson Creek Boat Ramp.
Organizers this year chose to plant trees at the upper part of Cove Spring Park, a location that seemed to please many of Saturday’s volunteer planters.
“I’d love to see more people up here,” said Frankfort resident Nana Zita, mentioning her son used to like playing in the forest. “I like knowing it’s going to be a park and not a subdivision.”
The city acquired Cove Spring Park and its 100 acres of wetlands, streams, springs, waterfalls, ravines and other natural features more than 10 years ago, but until recently, the upper section of the park near Peaks Mill Elementary has remained mostly undeveloped.
Cove Spring Manager Andrew Cammack, who helped start ReForest Frankfort in 2009, explained why organizers chose the park.
“We’re just beginning to develop this park,” Cammack said. “We built this paved track around here … and (Saturday’s tree planting) is part of the plan to vegetate this and provide shade for the trail.”
Cammack said a shelter will also eventually be built near the trail and hopes to have a grand opening celebration this summer to introduce more people to the newly developed park.
For many, Saturday’s event was their first time in the particular section of the park.
“I’ve lived here 58 years, and I had never been to this part,” said Candice Sacre. “It’s so pretty up here.”
Mayor Gippy Graham also praised this year’s location, saying he grew up in Thorn Hill and used to have races down the hills at what’s now part of Cove Spring.
“It was a perfect place to grow up … and I’m so pleased (the city) got possession of this land,” Graham told the crowd of volunteers.
He also said he’s indebted to the many volunteers and city, county and state officials for putting on another “excellent” program.
Sarah Gracey from the Kentucky Division of Forestry presented Graham with a plaque from the Arbor Day Foundation designating Frankfort a “Tree City USA,” a title only awarded to 30 other communities in the commonwealth.
To be named a Tree City USA a community must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
This is the 15th time Frankfort’s received the title.
In addition to the 2,000 trees planted, Cammack said an additional 2,000 seedlings were given away to volunteers.
Those who planted a tree Saturday were given a ReForest Frankfort shirt that displayed this year’s logo, designed by Chanda Veno. Veno won the logo design contest at last year’s ReForest Frankfort event.
ReForest Frankfort Contest Winners
Franklin County Conservation District “Big Tree Contest” (Walnut):
> K-5th grade: Jewell and Vance Mueller
> 6th-8th grade: Harlee Tucker
> 9th-12th grade: Bailey Bishop
> 18-55 years of age: Mike Larimore
> Senior citizen: Lee Troutwine
> Overall winner: Jewell and Vance Mueller
2013 Logo contest:
> First place: Tariq Onadu, Western Hills High School
> Second place: Skylar Gibbons, Kentucky State University
> Candra Miller, Kentucky State University
> First place overall: Sydney Scott, Hearn Elementary School
> Second place overall: Amber Lyons, Westridge Elementary School
> Third place overall: Breona Shelton, Bridgeport Elementary School
> Bridgeport: Breona Shelton
> Capital Day: Taylor Redmon
> Collins Lane: Ian Hurt
> Elkhorn: Elizabeth Hernandez
> Frankfort Christian Academy: Alexandra Smith
> Good Shepherd: Raygan Shepard
> Hearn: Sydney Scott
> Peaks Mill: Kamryn Presley
> Second Street: Erin McQueen
> Westridge: Amber Lyons
> Bridgeport: Bailey McDowell, Sarah Arnett
> Capital Day: Spencer Miller, Cameron Hurst, Chandler Miller, Sara Tahanasab
> Collins Lane: Cameryn Jones
> Elkhorn: Zaria Robinson, Faith Lewis, Julia Welsh, Ashley Pereira
> Frankfort Christian Academy: Bailee Dowler, Allegra Renfroe, Anna Jones
> Good Shepherd: Felicia McCroskey, Ben Zingg, Mary Okacha
> Hearn: Haley Hamilton, Haley Parker Morrow, Parks Mason, Avery Graham, Mason Parritt
> Peaks Mill: Alyssa Poe, Michael Smith
> Second Street: Merritt Shaw, Destiny Romans
> Westridge: Brandon Callis, Catherine Emberton, Ethan Woolums