Reforest, Frankfort

Annual Arbor Day event set for Saturday at Salato

By Kim Cowherd, Published:

Are you ready to Reforest, Frankfort?

The sixth annual Reforest Frankfort, Frankfort’s annual Arbor Day event, is set for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of the Salato Wildlife Center (Game Farm) on Louisville Road. The goal is to involve volunteers in the planting of some 3,000 trees on the grounds.

The event includes entertainment, door prizes, food, music, activities for children, displays, naming of the Arbor Day Poster Contest winners, T-shirt logo contest, Biggest Tree contest and the City’s annual Arbor Day tree give-away and more.

A Reforest Frankfort kickoff event is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday as the Franklin County TREE Coalition and Walk/Bike Frankfort conducts a tree tour. This year’s theme is “Historic Frankfort and its Trees.” 

The tour begins in Nash Cox’s front yard at 404 Wapping St. Participants will see Frankfort’s only beech street trees, oldest tree, and a beautiful view of the Kentucky River, among other sights.  Water and refreshments will be available.

Event’s history

In 2009, the City of Frankfort received a grant from the Kentucky Division of Forestry and began an ambitious reforestation program to plant trees along waterways to control erosion, help alleviate flooding, reduce air and water pollution, provide habitat, and increase recreational opportunities for citizens. This program became the event known as Reforest Frankfort.

The event’s predecessor, Frankfort’s Arbor Day Celebration, which had been held for more than 20 years by the Frankfort Urban Forestry Board, was incorporated into Reforest Frankfort.

The first location for Reforest Frankfort’s efforts was along the river on Old Lawrenceburg Road around the old boat dock and Kentucky River bank. Tree planting volunteers went out in groups of 10 with a bucket of 100 native tree saplings, all suitable for the site. 

The second year’s site was near the first, at the former golf driving range. The tree planters at this Reforest event expanded the range of the planting further along the banks of the Kentucky River. 

The third year was held near the boat dock on Benson Valley Road.  Volunteers planted several thousand trees in areas that were primarily a field where there were no trees and along the banks of Benson Creek. 

The fourth and fifth Reforest events were held at Cove Spring Park and Nature Preserve at the upper level located off Peaks Mill Road. Tree planting was also done in the Nature Preserve wetland area located nearby on U.S. 127.

The tree planting along Sky Trail at Cove Spring was very rocky and in very thin soil. Trees planted there were selected to be successful in this type of situation. 

The wetland trees were selected to be able to survive in a boggy situation.  

How to participate

You, your family members and friends can plant trees Saturday at the Game Farm or at your home. You can pick up information on trees and their benefits and care, visit the educational booths and displays to learn more about trees and the environment.

This is a rain, snow or sun event, so come dressed for the weather. If you are planting trees, wear tennis shoes or boots. Bring a shovel with you, if you have one. Trained and knowledgeable crew leaders will be there to help with the planting. Volunteers who attend and plant trees will be given 2014 Reforest Frankfort T-shirts.

The City of Frankfort is the primary sponsor of the event and has recruited individuals, businesses and corporations to join in sponsorship. The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Salato Wildlife Education Center are the hosts of the event and have been instrumental in the planning and support that must happen for such a major community event to be successful.

The planning team consists of representatives of Franklin County government, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service, Frankfort Urban Forestry Advisory Board, Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism, Capital Area Extension Master Gardeners, Kentucky State University and several other community volunteers. On the day of the big event Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, church members, school groups, members of civic and other organizations and unaffiliated citizens participate.

The schedule

The festivities begin at 9 a.m. with registration at the Salato Center. Tree planting crews will then plant trees around the grounds.

Meanwhile, under the exhibit tent, visitors may stop and talk with tree and plant experts and many other educational exhibitors. There will be activities for kids of all ages and a variety of local musical groups will be playing. A local drumming group will set the tone for tree planters.

At noon, planting will stop and everyone will gather at the big entertainment tent for free hot dogs followed by ceremonies and programs.

There will be an Arbor Day Proclamation and the City of Frankfort will be recognized with the prestigious Tree City USA award for the 17th year.

Winners will be named in the Conservation District’s Big Tree Contest and fifth grade Arbor Day Poster Contests. Door prizes will be awarded. Elected officials and special guests will plant the official Arbor Day tree to cap off the day.

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