On Thursday, December 20, the Center for Interfaith Relations (CIR) announced the beginning of a new tree-planting initiative. The initiative is in response to an appeal made at the 2012 Festival of Faiths to address concerns about the tree canopy in West Louisville.

Representatives from the Mayor’s Tree Advisory Board, Brightside and Brown-Forman Corporation joined CIR in the announcement, which was held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH), the site of the 2012 Festival of Faiths. On the previous day, 20 trees were planted at the African American Heritage Center, which is located at 1701 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood.

Twelve of the trees were acquired from North Carolina by Tree Advisory Board Advisor and Arborist Michael Hayman, and eight were acquired locally by Brightside. According to Hayman, the trees selected for this specific planting were chosen due to their ability to flourish in Louisville’s climate as well as for their aesthetic beauty, especially when turning colors in the fall.

Purchase of the trees was made possible by Brown-Forman, which has sponsored the planting of more than 1,000 trees in West Louisville over the past 10 years thanks to the company’s partnership with Brightside and the Owsley Brown Tree Legacy Program.

This is the first phase of what organizers refer to as the “reforestation of the Russell community.” Efforts are underway to seek “tree champions” who will purchase, plant and/or care for more trees in the area, develop a general plan for future tree plantings and help identify subsidies for the purchase of additional trees.

Click here to see photos from the December 20 announcement.