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Here's How You Can Help Improve West Louisville's Tree Canopy

Downtown Louisville is one of the fastest growing urban heat islands in the country, and that’s because there aren’t enough trees.

To help keep the city cool, public and private partners are working with groups like Brightside to plant more trees in the parts of the city that need it most.

On Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., Brightside is hosting a community tree planting event along West Broadway. From 22nd Street to 37th Street, Brightside will plant 115 trees.

"We want the community to come out, we want your hands dirty and we want you to learn how to do it so it can help you learn to plant a tree at your own home or get your neighborhood association involved in the mission,” said Director Gina O’Brien.

A few years ago, the city learned it's losing trees at a rate of about 54,000 per year. That canopy loss is making the city’s urban heat island worse. Parts of the city can be as much 20 degrees hotter than the surrounding rural areas.

“So our way of combating it is getting people together to make a positive impact and so they can drive down Broadway and say, 'I put those trees in the ground,'” O'Brien said.

West Louisville has among the worst tree canopies in the city. That's why Brightside planted 60 trees there on Friday, and is planning another 115 on Saturday.

When grown, these trees will do more than just offer shade. They’ll also clean the air, absorb storm water runoff and make the city more beautiful.

O’Brien estimates Brightside will plant around 300 trees this year. That’s only a drop in the bucket for what the city needs, but there are a number of groups like Brightside all working toward the same goal: making Louisville a greener, healthier place to live.

To register for the community planting event, visit this website or just show up.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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