It’s Arbor Day in Kentucky

Today is Arbor Day in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky tends to conjure up images of rolling hills and miles of green space. But the Commonwealth has a lot of green in its population centers as well.

Kentucky’s Division of Forestry has a great website extolling the benefits of urban forestry, noting that while many think of forests as being predominately rural in nature, one-half of Kentuckians live in an urban forest environment. Frankfort, the state’s capital pictured on the right, is heavily forested.

Increased tourism, reduced energy use and carbon dioxide emissions and community pride are among the benefits of urban forestry cited by Kentucky officials.

A number of communities across Kentucky commemorating their 10th and 20th consecutive years as a Tree City USA today.

Last year, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized Charles D. Williams of Munfordville, Kentucky, with a Good Steward Award. Williams, known as “Tree Man” to neighbors and friends, has planted trees on his 929-acre farm every Good Friday since 1976.

Later this month, the Foundation will announce that Dr. James Middleton, a friend of Williams and a fellow Munfordville resident, will receive the 2012 Good Steward Award.

The State of Kentucky is currently home to 28 Tree City USA communities, accounting for 1.5 million people. The largest Tree City USA community in Kentucky is Louisville, population 721,500; the smallest is Nazareth, population 300.

Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Division of Forestry.