March 24, 2015 | By: Aimee Nielson

The Arboretum will host four events in April that celebrate “Kentucky’s Past, Present and Future” as part of its annual Party for the Planet culminating on Arbor Day, April 25.

This year’s Party for the Planet events encourages visitors to explore the Arboretum’s Walk Across Kentucky and learn about Kentucky’s natural history and ecology. Each event will take place in or along a different region of the state represented in the garden.

“Kentucky’s Past” takes place April 1from 2 to 6 p.m. in the garden’s Cumberland Mountains and Appalachian Plateau regions and highlights the part of the state where settlers first entered.

“Kentucky’s Present” is April 12 and features tours of the Arboretum Woods and the Bluegrass region of the Walk Across Kentucky, starting at 1 p.m. at the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center. This event focuses on current threats to Kentucky’s landscape such as invasive plants. The Arboretum Woods is threatened by bush honeysuckle, euonymus and ivy. Efforts to eradicate bush honeysuckle have been successful, but much work remains to eradicate euonymus. Visitors will learn what they can plant when they remove invasive species.

“Kentucky’s Future” takes place April 23 and focuses on educating children and families about how to select and properly plant a tree. Tree seedlings will be available for participants to plant in the Pennyrile region of The Arboretum, adjacent to the Kentucky Children’s Garden. Visitors can watch their tree as it grows and becomes established over time.

The Arbor Day celebration, April 25, will take place in the Shawnee Hills and Mississippi Embayment regions of the walk. Interpretive stations about the newly established Shawnee Hills Meadow, tree health, tree identification, wetland and streamside plantings, and ephemeral wildflowers will provide a chance to learn first-hand about this region of the state. As in past years, visitors will have an opportunity to select a tree seedling or potted tree at the event to take home.

The Arbor Day event brings together experts on tree care, native plants, birds, gardening and recycling, among others. Additionally, state and local entities that support the environment will be in the exhibitor tents to provide more information for visitors. Food will be available in the parking lot courtesy of UK Catering (cash only).

The 24th annual Arbor Day at The Arboretum is free and includes free admission to the Kentucky Children’s Garden, thanks to the support of presenting sponsor Kentucky Utilities Company and sponsors Kentucky American Water Company, Lexmark, Braley Design, Big Beaver Tree Service, Community Tree Care, Dave Leonard Tree Specialists, Keep Lexington Beautiful, Lexington-Fayette Environmental Commission and Lexington Tree Board.

“People will go home with information that they can use in their home landscape and they will gain knowledge of natural areas in the region,” said Molly Davis, director of The Arboretum, which is part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Arbor Day has attracted as many as 5,000 people when the weather is sunny. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine. Visitors and volunteers must park in UK’s Orange lot at the corner of University and Alumni drives. Shuttles to Arbor Day at The Arboretum will run continuously from 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. to ensure everyone can come. Parking at The Arboretum on Arbor Day will be strictly limited to exhibitors, speakers and UK Catering services. Children can enjoy many activities, including storytelling in the Kentucky Children’s Garden at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. and a raptor rehabilitation presentation at 1 p.m.

Davis said each year they aim for a zero-waste event by by serving food and soft drinks in recyclable or compostable containers, reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills.

“We also urge the exhibitors to use things that can be recycled or made of recycled materials,” she said.

Four exhibitors, including Kentucky Utilities, will hand out tree seedlings and discuss how to save money by saving energy at home. They also will provide information about the Kentucky Utilities “Right Tree, Right Place” program, which encourages people to think carefully about what they plant near power lines.

On April 24, The Arboretum will host an Arbor Day volunteer training from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to help volunteers learn what they need to know to volunteer for Arbor Day. Volunteers will help with interpretive stations, unloading and loading exhibits and many other jobs. Contact The Arboretum for more information about volunteering.

For more information, call The Arboretum at 859-257-6955 or visit their website,

Last year’s Party for the Plant included the signing of the third amended agreement of the partnership between the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and the University of Kentucky ensures The Arboretum will be in place until 2086. In March 2000, it was named the Official State Botanical Garden for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


Molly Davis, 859-257-6955

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