March 18, 2011

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The Arboretum, along with presenting sponsor Kentucky Utilities, is throwing a month-long Party for the Planet beginning March 24 with a Founders' Lecture by author Sharon Lovejoy and culminating with Arbor Day festivities on April 30.

Organizers are gearing the array of activities toward families to help them become more aware of ways to live greener and connect with nature, said Marcia Farris, The Arboretum director.

"We've spread a lot of Arbor Day activities and Earth Day activities across the month," she said. "It has been wonderful to have Kentucky Utilities as our presenting sponsor for the entire month. It has allowed us to bring in Sharon Lovejoy and have programming that we could not have otherwise."

"Kentucky Utilities has a long history of environmental stewardship.... We look to partner with community organizations that are making an impact in the communities that we call home," said Katie Greene, corporate responsibility specialist with Kentucky Utilities. "I think people today are really interested in coming up with ideas about how to incorporate sustainability into their own lives. The Arboretum is really a special place where people can come and learn about how to green their lives, how to work in their gardens and how to connect with nature."

Farris said she was excited about being able to bring Lovejoy to town for the Founders' Lecture.

"Her book ‘Sunflower Houses' inspired me early on about gardening with children," she said.

Lovejoy, who lives in California, is a syndicated columnist, the author of eight books and a contributor to seven others. The illustration on her business card shows a book titled "Cultivating Wonder." That, the author explains on her website, is her job description, not the name of her latest book. She uses her artistic talents and her fascination with botany to cultivate wonder in the garden, coming up with creative approaches to gardening.

During the Founders' Lecture, Lovejoy will offer both classic and fanciful design ideas for the garden. The lecture is 7 p.m. EDT March 24 in the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center. Tickets are $5 to the general public, free to Friends of the Arboretum and students with a valid ID.

Other activities include:

  • Li'l Sprouts: Get Ready to Garden, a walk through the garden for prekindergarten and kindergarten children. Children will listen to a special spring story and decorate a garden apron. 10 a.m. March 30
  • Backyard Explorers: Spring Break Day Camp for ages 7 to 11. Participants will learn about native plants and animals, grow their own food and find new ways to reuse old items. 9 a.m. to noon April 4 to 8
  • T is for Tree, a shared activity for preschool children, parents, grandparents and family members during which each family will plant a tree in the Kentucky Children's Garden and receive a sapling to take home. 10 a.m. April 13
  • Growing Up WILD training workshop, an interactive workshop to explore the field-tested, hands-on activities of the early childhood curriculum Growing Up WILD from the nationally renowned environmental education program Project WILD. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 18
  • Composting at Home, tips for managing a home composting system presented jointly with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Waste Management. Participants who preregister will get a chance to win a green kitchen compost bin (Grubby). 6 p.m. April 19
  • Plant a Wetland, a hands-on workshop taught by The Arboretum staff. Instruction will be given on suitable plants for a wetland area, as well as proper planting techniques. 10 a.m. April 26
  • 20th Annual Arbor Day at The Arboretum, a "Tree Birthday" celebration complete with cakes, exhibits, guided tree walks and activities for all ages. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30.

This event is free due to the support of Kentucky Utilities and sponsors Lexmark and Kentucky American Water Company and supporters Big Beaver Tree Service and Community Tree Care.

"We could not do it without our corporate partners," Farris said. "They make it all possible."

"I encourage everyone to come out, see what's in bloom, get some ideas about how to incorporate sustainability into your own life and have a lot of fun," Greene said.

The Arboretum began in 1991 as a joint effort between the University of Kentucky and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. In March 2000, The Arboretum was named the "Official State Botanical Garden for the Commonwealth of Kentucky".

For more information about Earth Month activities at The Arboretum, explore their website at http://www.ca.uky.edu/Arboretum. Preregistration is required for all classes. Space is limited. Call 859-257-6955 or email https://www.ca.uky.edu/news/admin/dmbast0@uky.edu to register.