Trees planted in Chickasaw neighborhood

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Grows is coordinating more than 100 volunteers to help plant trees in the Chickasaw neighborhood Saturday morning.

The nonprofit group has 150 trees prepped and ready to go. This will be the last tree planting event for the year, and they could always use more volunteers. If you would like to help, you can meet at 3811 Hale Avenue at 8 a.m. for instructions.

Louisville Grows Executive Director Ked Stanfield explained that planting trees can help improve air quality and, in turn, a person’s quality of life. But the problem is that Louisville seems to be losing more trees every year.

“This is a growing concern,” Stanfield said. “And this is something that the Louisville Metro loses more trees in a year than all the organizations that plant trees in one year. So we’re fighting a lose battle, but we’re fighting in the right direction.”

Trees help soak up rainwater, clean the air, provide extra oxygen and shade, said Stanfield. But in order to plant more trees, it’s a months-long process to prepare for a community event like Saturday’s.

“We have to canvass the neighborhoods and we find homeowners and properties that are willing to accept trees,” he said. “And then we have to go through all the legal requirements to plant a tree.”

Louisville Grows has to coordinate with the city to make sure that the new trees are not being planted in the right of way, too close to existing trees, or too close to underground utilities. Standfield said the worst thing would be to plant a tree and years later have the city remove it because it’s obstructing drivers’ line of sight around a corner, for example.

All the plans are approved for Saturday’s event, and Stanfield said they’re excited to be planting in the Chickasaw neighborhood. The Chickasaw Neighborhood Federation asked Louisville Grows to consider planting trees in the area, and Stanfield said there’s another reason why it’s critical to improve the tree canopy here.

“It’s especially important here in the Chickasaw neighborhood,” he said. “Because we’re close to the heavy industrial area, locally known as Rubbertown."

Health experts have monitored air quality in West Louisville for years. The Air Toxics Risk Assessment Report shows higher rates of cancer and respiratory illness in the neighborhoods surrounding Rubbertown.

“It’s really important to have the trees from an air quality standpoint here,” said Stanfield. “And more trees will filter out any kind of particulate matter that’s in the air. Fifty years down the road, these tress are going to be producing shade and producing oxygen for these neighborhoods. That’s what we need.”

To learn more about Louisville Grows and future community events, click here.

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