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Branching out: Canopy Con 2024 unites urban forestry enthusiasts

Branching out: Canopy Con 2024 unites urban forestry enthusiasts

Branching out: Canopy Con 2024 unites urban forestry enthusiasts

Canopy Con is the first conference of its kind in the Bluegrass region, combining urban forestry seminars and hands-on experiences. The event is open to all members of the community.

Lexington, Ky.—

The University of Kentucky Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) will host the inaugural Canopy Con, the first Bluegrass region conference dedicated to urban and community forestry. The workshop is aimed at students, faculty, forestry professionals and community members who want to learn more about urban forestry and its effects on communities. 

Canopy Con 2024 is supported by the UK Office of Sustainability, UK Department of Entomology, UK Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Kentucky Division of Forestry. The event occurs at the Longship Club at Kroger Field on the UK Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET on April 25. CanopyCon

“Regardless of where you live, community tree canopies provide many essential benefits to our well-being but are threatened on several fronts,” said UFI coordinator Ignazio Graziosi. “Trees are low-cost tools to build climate change resiliency. They absorb stormwater, filter air and water pollutants, stabilize slopes and soil, provide cooling through shade and evapotranspiration, reduce stress and add value and beauty to urban landscapes.” 

The conference will feature diverse speakers and presenters who are leaders in their respective fields. Presentations will cover wide-ranging topics related to the health, maintenance and future of urban and community trees, showcasing the multifaceted nature of urban forestry. 

Canopy Con will also feature hands-on demonstrations, providing participants with a unique opportunity to engage directly with urban forestry practices. Demonstrations include tree care, using trees as green infrastructure and the functioning of bioswales – channels designed to concentrate and convey stormwater runoff while removing debris. 

Trees have faced significant troubles over the past several years. Non-native insect pests have had an outsized impact on urban and community trees, as shown by the loss of ash trees due to the emerald ash borer in Kentucky communities. Increasing in frequency and intensity, unprecedented weather events such as drought, heat waves, flash freezes, flash floods and wind events also take a toll on tree canopies. 

“Canopy Con will teach that everyone can become citizen scientists and tree stewards equipped to advocate on behalf of trees,” Graziosi said. “Trees have superpowers.” 

Registration is $40, including talks, demonstrations, parking passes and morning and afternoon snacks and lunch. The first 30 students to register will receive free admission. For registration and program details, visit

UFI is a collaborative program between UK and other stakeholders with the goal of protecting urban tree canopies on a local and state-wide scale. UFI's objective is to maintain and promote urban and community forests while also developing tree stewards in the process. 

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The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization with respect to education and employment and authorization to provide research, education information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. 

Community Development Forestry Sustainability

Contact Information

Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064