WKU, city partner for tree giveaway at Arbor Day event

Elizabeth Heltsley pots a baby tree for a visitor at The City of Bowling Green Advisory Board’s Arbor Day Festival at Spero Kereiakes Park on Cemetery Road Saturday. WKU supplied pots and soil used to dispense trees to visitors.

Michael McKay

It was cold and raining Saturday morning, but tree enthusiasts still flocked to Kereiakes Park to take home a couple of the 1,500 seedlings being passed out in honor of Arbor Day.

National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, but some states like Kentucky celebrate the day according to the best grow times for that state.

By observing an event for Arbor Day, the Bowling Green Tree Advisory Board and partner WKU are eligible to be named by the Arbor Day foundation.

WKU was named a Tree Campus USA for the second year in a row earlier this month.

City Arborist Jared Weaver said the turnout for the event was higher than last year, which was also colder and cloudy.

“I guess we probably had 200-300 people, which, considering the weather, is not too bad,” Weaver said.

WKU volunteers put on a “bike rodeo” that let children go through traffic cones and learn about bike safety, like helmet fittings.

WKU Landscape Architect Helen Siewers said 17 children got to go through the course.

“We were trying to make this a family-friendly event, so having the bikes is a way of encouraging families to come out and actually stay,” Siewers said.

Members of the Girl Scout Troop 165 wore jackets over their uniforms as they passed out seedlings.

Troop Leader Carol Crowe said her Scouts started volunteering there four years ago and have been asked back every year since.

“It’s been our privilege to return every year,” Crowe said.

After getting a seedling from the Scouts, the new owners stood in line for a place where they would be planted into biodegradable pots and soil provided by WKU.

“It looks like a big hit. Hopefully we can continue that in the future,” Weaver said.

Joanie Parish of Round Hill stood in line to pot red bud seedlings for her parents.

Parish said the red bud she got her parents at the Arbor Day event three or four years has “grown to a nice tree.”

“I’m excited to see it grow again,” Parish said.

Parish said her father in particular really likes the tree.

“It’s nice to see something grow into a beautiful thing,” Parish said.