Arbor Day event celebrates plants, UK’s arboretum

By Ken Parton

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UK students braved rainy conditions on Saturday to attend the 24th annual Arbor Day celebration hosted at the arboretum in Lexington.

Mayor Jim Gray kicked off the day with a proclamation in which he talked about the importance of preserving the arboretum for the community.

With more than 40 exhibitors, there was plenty for attendants to see and learn about preservation for the plant life that makes up the arboretum.

Four tents were spread throughout the park, where people could learn about local plants, gardening, bird feeding, watch puppet shows and more.

Tree education is what Dave Leonard, UK alum and one of the founding members of the arboretum, gets most excited about.

“The goal is to educate people to know the benefit of trees and all they do for us,” Leonard said.

Leonard donated a Pignut hickory tree for the tree planting ceremony, and while planting he said “I’ve been doing this for over 40 years and planting trees with the community is still a wonderful thing.”

Leonard also added that although planting trees is noble, preserving and taking care of the existing trees is the most important aspect of preservation.

Adults and children were walking away with free trees along with the knowledge to plant and care for them.

Lorraine Charbonneu of Lexington has made a tradition of planting a tree that she gets on Arbor Day. Charbonneu said “I feel like it is my way of paying it forward for nature, and it’s fun!”

Biology junior Stefan Vidovich said he wishes more students came to the celebration.

“This is my second time coming and I feel like this is something students could really appreciate.”