Fayette County

Lexington is losing trees. Tree Week organizers are fighting back with fun activities.

As fall makes itself known in the changing colors of the leaves, a series of upcoming events will give Lexington residents the opportunity to give some thought to trees and the joy they bring.

The Urban Forest Initiative and a series of partners have designated Oct. 12-19 as Tree Week in Lexington.

Mary Arthur, professor of forest ecology at the University of Kentucky and co-lead of the Urban Forest Initiative, said one of the most powerful assignments she gives her students at UK is to write a paper about their favorite tree on campus.

“It elicits these really deeply memorable connections to green spaces,” she said.

Arthur hopes Tree Week, which will include about 70 events this year, will help Lexington residents celebrate trees in the same warm way.

Walks, workshops, and tree plantings are among the many activities being offered by dozens of tree week partners.

There are educational opportunities for people interested in learning to identify or care for trees, and there are events for those who would rather photograph or do yoga under them.

The Lexington Public Library is offering a week filled with tree-themed storytimes for kids, movie showings and other events.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government is hosting a month-long scavenger hunt, the Go See Trees Fall Challenge, that runs through Oct. 27 and highlights “ten remarkable trees” throughout the city.

And as Tree Week winds down, professional tree climbers will gather behind the Gatton Student Center at UK for the annual Kentucky Tree Climbing Championship Oct. 19.

Arthur said it’s concerning that the city’s tree canopy is eroding as a result of challenges including construction and the damage caused by the invasion of the emerald ash borer several years ago.

The Urban Forest Initiative set up a working group that developed the idea of Tree Week as a means of combating tree loss in “a very light-handed way,” Arthur said. The first Tree Week was held last year, and it was such a success the group decided to do it again.

“We’re really excited about really calling people’s attention to our urban canopy,” she said.

For a complete list of Tree Week activities, visit Ufi.ca.uky.edu/treeweek2019.