Trees Keep Us Breathing!

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By WALTER MUNDAY
Metro Parks and Recreation Outreach Manager
E-mail Walter

As Kentucky and other states nationwide celebrate Arbor Day during the month of April, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation will be taking the entire month to draw attention to our city’s lovely and historical canopy of trees located within Metro Parks.

So, during the month of April, we’re going to be sharing interesting facts and photos about our diverse set of trees within our 13,000 acres, 120 parks and six parkways within Louisville, and we’re going to ask you to share pictures of your favorite Metro Parks trees with us on Instagram.

If you share your pics with us, you will have the opportunity to pick up a colorful Tree Identification Poster at our administrative office, located at 1297 Trevilian Way inside Joe Creason Park.

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Your Arbor Day present – share a pic of your favorite tree with us on Instagram, and you will receive this awesome and colorful poster!

Since the beginning of time, trees have and continue to provide humans and animals with two of life’s essentials – food & oxygen.  As life evolves, so has the importance of trees which also provide shelter, food, medicine, fuel for cooking and heating, shade for cooling, tools, pulp for paper and so much more all throughout the planet.

Trees help prevent water pollution, increase property values, mitigate erosion, and shield humans from dangerous ultra-violet rays.

Did you know that a single tree absorbs 13-pounds of carbon dioxide per year?  For every ton of new tree wood that grows, approximately 1.5 tons of CO2 are removed from the air and 1.07 tons of life-giving oxygen is produced.

During a 50-year life span, a single tree will generate $30,000 in oxygen, recycle $35,000 worth of water, and clean up $60,000 worth of air pollution!

For many, the love of trees is not so scientific.   Folks love trees for all sorts of reasons.  Maybe it’s because of the canopy that trees provide for picnics, cookouts, and/or just relaxing outside.  Others love trees because they provide a structure for climbing and/or building backyard treehouses.  Maybe it’s the firewood used to heat homes, churches, or fills your favorite school notebook (paper).

A love for trees doesn’t stop with just human.  Birds, squirrels, and other animals love trees too!  Trees provide a birds and other animals a place for building nests, or as a landing spot for a short rest.  In addition, they provide animals a safe place to hide as well as a food source.  What about all of the food which grows on trees?  Items such as nuts, apples, oranges, pears, peaches,and bananas?

Louisville Metro Parks & Recreation LOVES trees too!  We are home to approximately eight million trees of 270 different species.

The majority of our trees reside on 6,600+ acres in Jefferson Memorial Forest where our Natural Areas Division, led by Bryan Lewis,  cares for the trees as well as trees on other park properties where nature is the focus.

These areas include mature forests, lakes, wetlands, riparian areas, and meadows – places where one can experience the wonder of nature while hiking, fishing, horseback riding, birding, or simply relaxing.

Our Forestry Division is led by Dr. Mesude Duyar-Ozyurekoglu.  She and her team are responsible for maintenance of trees in parks and along our six Olmsted-designed parkways.

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They manage a tree inventory of approximately 32,000 trees in our 120 parks, as well as trees along our six Olmsted-designed parkways.  The Forestry Division has developed a comprehensive geographic information system (GIS) based tree inventory of its park land.  The inventory captures such information as the species, location, height, diameter, health, and more.  In addition, the Forestry Division has been busy planting more than 1,000 trees along the parkways.

One of the greatest threats to our tree canopy in Louisville is from an insect called the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), which was introduced to North America from Asia in the 1990’s.

Forestry officials estimate that ash trees made up almost 13 percent of the canopy along the Olmsted Parkways and in the Metro Parks system prior to 2010, when the pest was first discovered.  During the last seven years the canopy has seen a five percent loss due to ash mortality. Metro Parks’ Forestry Department expects most of the majority of Ash trees to succumb to EAB.

As members of this community, our trees are your trees, and we take the responsibility of taking care of them seriously. Do you have one that stands out as a favorite? If so, hit us up on Instagram by submitting pictures of your favorite tree(s).  Be sure to tell us why you love this particular tree, and share fond memories of it.

When you’re done, be sure to stop by Joe Creason Park and pick up your tree identification poster, beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5. We’ll make them available through 5 p.m. on Friday, April 28. Only one poster will be awarded per person and per picture. Consider that our Arbor Day present to you. Thanks for your support!

Questions? Contact us.

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