Louisville Magazine

MAR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.19 113 Louisville has a discouraging distinction: It is home to the fastest-warming heat island in the nation, in part because of a shrinking tree canopy. A 2012 assessment commissioned by metro government found that Louisville lost more than 54,000 trees a year between 2004 and 2012 as a result of development, storms, disease and failure to replace damaged and dead trees. "That's the equivalent of two Cherokee Parks — and parks are the lungs of the city," says horticulturist and local gardening expert Cindi Sullivan, who is executive director of TreesLouisville, a nonprofit established in 2015 to conserve and increase tree canopy. With 37 percent tree cover that continues to decline, the goal is to increase Louisville's canopy to 45 percent by 2050, Sullivan says. Trees are not only lovely to look at, they also improve air and water quality by intercepting particulates and managing storm water, Sullivan says. Trees also help save energy and even make us feel better. Studies have shown that hospital patients with views of trees heal faster and with less pain. TreesLouisville, funded largely by donations and grants, plants trees mainly in west and south Louisville. Sullivan says redlining maps from the 1930s, which show home-loan discrimination on the basis TreesLouisville Plants for the Future of race, align with the areas in greatest need of trees, so planting trees is both an environmental and a social-justice issue. TreesLouisville also advocates for public policy changes, promotes sustainability and partners on projects with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), Michelin North America and other organizations. A recent TreesLouisville project at the JCPS Foster Traditional Academy in the Chickasaw neighborhood created a "green screen" between the school's soccer field and the Shawnee Expressway. It looks attractive and also helps protect students from air and noise pollution. The organization has teamed with Greenwood and Western Cemetery volunteers to improve tree maintenance and ensure those areas remain community assets. TreesLouisville also holds tree giveaways and offers vouchers for discounts on purchasing trees. It will even deliver a tree, with planting instructions, to your door through its Community Canopy program. "This is a long-term proposition," Sullivan says. "We hope we'll be able to create a cultural shift, so people will understand how important it is to plant trees in their own yards and in public places." For more information on TreesLouisville, including how to volunteer and sign up for tree giveaways and the voucher program, visit treeslouisville.org. Photos by Michael Hayman SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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