Bring a shovel and be prepared to get dirty.
There will be plenty of seedlings and trees to be planted at the 12th annual Reforest Frankfort from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at Lakeview Park.
Sponsored by the city, county and Frankfort Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites, organizers are in need of community volunteers to plant 1,500 seedlings, a few larger trees and the ceremonial tree.
Helpers will plant a variety of trees, including persimmon; sassafras; redbud; black oak; post oak; shagbark hickory; Northern red oak; shumard oak; white oak; Chinquapin oak; black haw; paw paw; American hornbeam; blackgum; swamp white oak; coffeetree; rough leaved dogwood; sugar maple; flowering dogwood; elderberrry; hop hornbeam; sycamore; and yellow poplar.
“We will also be giving away 1,300 trees for citizens to plant on their own property,” said Alex Cunningham, of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites.
Those tree varieties include black gum; paw paw; persimmon; shumard oak; swamp white oak; willow oak; river birch; fringetree; sweetbay magnolia; red buckeye; service berry; bald cypress; blackhaw viburnum; chinkapin oak; white pine; flowering dogwood; redbud; yellow poplar; sweet gum; sycamore; and American hornbeam.
“To date we have planted close to 30,000 trees in the community,” Cunningham said, adding that planting more trees increases the survival rate. “They are not all going to survive, but if we can avoid mowing damage, deer rubbing and other human harm, the seedlings can help each other to thrive and grow. This means more mature trees for a healthier environment.”
Each year, a different park is selected to host the event with the hope of repeating areas. In 2019, it was held at Capitol View Park and five years ago it was at Lakeview Park — the location of this year’s Reforest Frankfort.
“The scheduling worked out perfectly,” Cunningham said. “(Five years) is a good amount of time to give the trees time to get stable and then add young trees in with them.”
There will be at least two planting sites — one near the dog park and one near the University of Kentucky Extension office. The main attractions — live music, a free lunch and educational exhibits — will be set up in the parking lot between the softball complex and the motor sports arena.
Local musicians Jasmine Fouts and Jack Twombly will perform starting at 9 a.m. As always, lunch will be provided. However, the menu may be changed from the usual fare of hot dogs and chips to cheese pizza.
“It is a no-waste event, so no plates or utensils, but whatever direction we go with food, it will be good,” Cunningham said.
Participants are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles, as the Frankfort Plant Board will provide water monsters.
While planting trees is an important part of Reforest Frankfort, the main focus of the family-friendly event is education. Several exhibitors will be teaching about environmental topics.
“We want to cultivate questions and interest. No one sells or asks for anything,” Cunningham said. “They are all just there to teach.”
Upon registering, participants will be given a passport to be stamped at each exhibitor station. Those who complete their passports will be entered in drawings to win prizes.
In addition to exhibits, all area elementary school art students have been invited to participate in an art contest. This year’s topic is “How Do
Trees Help Us?” First and second place winners from each grade level will be honored.
Students in sixth through 12th grade can enter a logo to be used on next year’s T-shirts and promotions. All logos will be voted on by event-goers.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a special exhibitor will be making earth-friendly crafts with children, as well as giving them tips to help lessen their footprint.
Reforest Frankfort will be held rain or shine. The first 500 participants will receive a free T-shirt.
“We always hope the event grows each year, which it has,” Cunningham said. “We had a little over 700 last year, so 800-900 participants would make for an amazing day!”