June 5, 2020 | By: Carol Lea Spence

LEXINGTON, Ky., — There’s the long way to walk across Kentucky, striding 449 miles from Hickman on the Mississippi River to Ashland on the West Virginia border. There’s a shorter route, taking the two-mile trail through The Arboretum’s Walk Across Kentucky. And there’s the shortest route: staying at home and taking a virtual walk while watching a new video about the Walk Across Kentucky.

Walk Across Kentucky at The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, is an 80-acre collection of native plants that represent the seven different geographic regions of the state. The trail illustrates the state’s great diversity in flora from plants that thrive in the Mississippi Embayment wetlands to those that can be found in the upper reaches of the Appalachian Plateau, also known as the Eastern Coalfields. The Shawnee Hills, Pennyrile, Knobs, Cumberland Mountain and the Bluegrass regions are also represented.

With an eye toward the health of its visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Arboretum is currently closed to the public. Many of its popular educational programs have been put on hold out of necessity, but arboretum personnel wanted people still to have access, albeit remotely. Emily Ellingson, The Arboretum’s curator and native plants collection manager, said they realized it would be helpful to have a video that people could watch while socially distancing.

“I just want people to get a sense for how biologically diverse Kentucky is as a state. When we open again, they can visit in person and experience native trees and shrubs from across the state. This video will give them a sampling of Kentucky’s rich environment from afar,” she said.

In addition to the video, Arboretum Explorer is a web-based version of The Arboretum’s plant records database that can be accessed on smartphones, tablets or desktop computers to "explore" the plant collection. App users can locate plants on an interactive map and also search the database for specific plants. They can also take a self-guided tour on native trees, shrubs or Kentucky oaks.

To view the Walk Across Kentucky video, access Arboretum Explorer or to learn more about The Arboretum, visit http://arboretum.ca.uky.edu.

The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, began in 1991 as a joint effort between UK and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Housed in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, it is located at 500 Alumni Drive and offers more than 100 acres of native plant collections, horticultural display gardens, trails, water features, the Kentucky Children’s Garden and seasonal events.

View photo gallery.

View Walk Across Kentucky video.

Contact: 

Emily Ellingson, emily.ellingson@uky.edu

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