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EKY tree distribution efforts aim to regrow canopies and communities


Eastern Kentuckians have the opportunity to pick up free trees for their home and business properties. The Kentucky Division of Forestry is partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Recovery Program to bring trees to communities rebuilding from natural disasters, like the floods that ravaged eastern Kentucky in 2022.

Following recent distributions in Perry and Letcher counties, the final tree recovery program will take place at the Breathitt County Extension Office on March 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. Officials said people from Breathitt and surrounding counties impacted by the 2022 floods are encouraged to take trees for their property.

Chris Wiedamann is the Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. He said the distributions offer more than 10 different tree species to choose from, and volunteers will help people decide which trees are best for their needs.

“Trees ranging from small yard trees that you can plant under power lines, to large, stately trees that really will last for a long time and provide a number of benefits to the community as they grow in age,” said Wiedamann, “So those benefits range from helping reduce stormwater and flooding, as well as they help clean the air and water that we so desperately need.”

Wiedamann said the program aims to not only rebuild the communities impacted by flooding but also minimize future damage.

“We’re really hoping to get these trees out to private property owners to plant where they live and work. Planting trees and increasing our tree canopies in our communities can be one of the most cost-effective ways to help reduce stormwater and the impacts of flooding, and so helping to build those canopies and those communities,” said Wiedamann.

Wiedamann said the Division of Forestry would be eager to host more distributions in the future, and they aim to help these communities rebuild as much as possible. More information on the distribution events and future initiatives is available at the Kentucky Division of Forestry Facebook page.