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Metro Parks Newsroom

Coral Ridge Elementary Students to Plant 200 Trees at Caperton Swamp Park

Wednesday March 19, 2014

Fourth-graders from Coral Ridge Elementary School will plant 200 native trees at Caperton Swamp Park, 3916 River Road, on Friday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to Noon.

This effort represents the school’s service learning project as part Jefferson Memorial Forest’s Louisville is Engaging Children Outdoors environmental education initiative (Louisville ECHO). The trees being planted by Coral Ridge students were funded through a recent $40,000 grant from the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District to further urban reforestation in Louisville. Ultimately, with this MSD grant, Metro Parks will plant 600 additional trees at Caperton Swamp.

The student tree planting project continues a multi-year effort by Jefferson Memorial Forest staff and volunteers to prepare Caperton Swamp for habitat improvement through targeted plantings. Over the past three years, with support from The Beckham Bird Club and District 7 Metro Councilmember Ken Fleming, competing alien invasive plants have been removed to create space for native species to thrive.

“This project is a wonderful community partnership and not only helps students understand the importance of trees for air and water quality, but also contributes to the restoration of Caperton Swamp as a natural area benefiting the entire community,” said Bennett Knox, administrator for Metro Parks’ Natural Areas Division/Jefferson Memorial Forest.

About Louisville ECHO:

Since 2008, the ECHO program has provided over 1500 4th grade students in 5 Jefferson County Public Schools with a field-based environmental science program tied to the Core Content curriculum. ECHO provides multiple field experiences in local parks, an overnight camping trip at Jefferson Memorial Forest, and a trip to experience the Daniel Boone National Forest at Red River Gorge. In 2008, Metro Parks was one of 16 national recipients of a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, through their “More Kids in the Woods” program, which provides seed money to develop programs that connect children with nature. Since 2009, the Louisville ECHO program has received funding support from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc., and Louisville Metro Council Members. Most recently, Metro Council Members Tina Ward-Pugh (District 9), Vicki Aubrey Welch (District 13), and Cheri Bryant-Hamilton (District 5) have supported the program.

About Louisville MSD’s Green Program:

The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has entered into an Amended Consent Decree with the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (KDEP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Amended Consent Decree was signed by United States District Judge Simpson on April 10, 2009, and filed in United States District Court, Western Division of Kentucky, Louisville Division, on April 15, 2009. The Integrated Overflow Abatement Plan (IOAP) outlines projects and programs to reduce Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and eliminate Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) by 2020 and 2024 respectively.

The IOAP outlines $850 Million in projects to address these overflows. Of the $850 Million, $47 Million was allocated for green infrastructure with the allowance for adaptive management. In effect, if green infrastructure can be utilized to meet the requirements of the Consent Decree at lower cost, gray projects can be “right-sized” or eliminated in the project suite to account for these reduced flows. The MSD Green Infrastructure Program is comprised of three distinct components: bidding and execution of projects on public property; incentives for private property based on value; and urban reforestation. The IOAP outlines MSD’s commitment to an Urban Reforestation tree planting schedule of 1,000 trees annually primarily within the CSO boundaries of Louisville. The commitment is to plant 14,000 trees by the year 2024 at the estimated cost of $3.36 Million (14,000 trees x $240 estimated per tree).

About Jefferson Memorial Forest:

The 6,500 acre Jefferson Memorial Forest, a woodland tribute to those Kentucky veterans who have served our nation during times of war, is Jefferson County’s largest nature preserve and one of the largest municipal urban forests in the nation. The Forest is the flagship of Metro Parks’ Natural Areas Division which is entrusted with providing stewardship, nature-based educational programming, and outdoor recreation within nearly 7,000 acres of forest, meadow, and riparian habitat across Louisville Metro. Jefferson Memorial Forest offers a full range of recreational amenities, including weekend education and adventure programs, hiking trails, camping, fishing, horseback riding trails and picnic areas. The Jefferson Memorial Forest Welcome Center is located at 11311 Mitchell Hill Road. For more information: 502-368-5404.

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