Kentucky volunteer organizations, including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, are joining utility companies from across the Commonwealth in an effort to reforest thousands of acres of land over the next two decades.
The initiative, Kentucky's 20/20 Vision for Reforestation, was highlighted today as Gov. Steve Beshear joined Scouts, officials with the Kentucky Division of Forestry and representatives of the state's utility companies.
"Reforestation can have a positive impact on Kentucky's nonforested land, as well as the overall environment in Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear. "I encourage each Kentuckian to take advantage of this great opportunity to help our environment through reforestation. A healthy environment means a healthy Kentucky, and that's something all of us can get excited about."
Over the next 20 years, the campaign will plant 20 million seedlings produced by the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Currently, an estimated 40,000 seedlings have been planted by Scout members at tree planting events in Marion and Campbell counties.
Kentucky's 20/20 Vision for Reforestation program coincides with the Governor proclaiming "Arbor Day in Kentucky" on Friday, April 4. National Arbor Day is Friday, April 25. States observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times.
"The commitment of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from across Kentucky will be the driving force to the success of this long-term project," said Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters. "We hope that other organizations across the Commonwealth will let us know of their interest and help us reach our goal. This is an important part of being good stewards of our environment, and I am eager to see how many thousands of seedlings we plant this year."
For their work in the reforestation effort, Scouts will be eligible to earn the Governor's Forestry Award patch.
"It is an honor for the Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road Council to help make Kentucky a better place through this reforestation project," said Susan Hansell, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road Council. "Girl Scouts are encouraged to discover, connect and take action. Through this initiative, we believe we can and will make a difference."
"The Boy Scouts of America has long been a positive force in environmental conservation efforts," said Brad Rives, board chair of the Lincoln Heritage Council, Boy Scouts of America. "Many former Scouts have gone on to become leaders in conserving and protecting our environment, while countless Scouts today are actively working to make a difference. We look forward to helping this Vision become a reality."
A group or organization wishing to join the 20/20 Vision for Reforestation campaign may find information online or by contacting the Office of Communications and Public Outreach by calling 502-564-5525. The campaign's Facebook page can be viewed here.
Kentucky's 20/20 Vision for Reforestation is part of Gov. Beshear's efforts to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The Governor launched kyhealthnow last month as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to significantly reduce incidence and deaths from Kentucky's dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky's successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies, like a well-balanced environment, over the next several years to improve the state's collective health.