Today’s demographics tell an interesting story. In a shift from fifty years ago, more than 80% of the U.S. population lives in cities, following similar trends around the world. These people have a significant influence – with their votes, their personal actions and their wallets – on many issues, including how we use the natural landscape.
Inspiring people to connect with nature and as a result, support its protection, is key to achieving The Nature Conservancy’s mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. These are reasons why the Conservancy’s Kentucky Chapter has opened an office in Louisville, the state’s largest city.
“More than half of our 11,000 members reside in Louisville,” says the Conservancy’s Kentucky Director of Philanthropy, Cadell Walker, who recently opened the new office thanks to space donated by Greater Louisville, Inc., a supporter of the Chapter’s Corporate Sustainability Council. “This office provides a chance to better engage and grow our membership in Louisville, deepen our conservation work in another part of the state and explore opportunities to collaborate with local partners here.”
With the new office barely unpacked, the Conservancy is already digging in . . . literally. In April, as part of the Mayor’s GiveADay Week of Service, Walker and some of the Conservancy’s corporate partners advanced efforts by Louisville Grows to increase the city’s ailing tree canopy, which has been identified as a reason for Louisville earning the distinction of being the second hottest city in America. In May, the Conservancy participated in another conservation project with Lexmark and the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) at The Parklands of Floyds Fork in Louisville’s East End.
For Walker, the events served as a perfect way to establish the Conservancy’s presence in Louisville, adding, “Planting trees around the city allowed us to collaborate with local, conservation-minded partners like Louisville’s Tree Action Committee, Lexmark and the PGA in ways which advance our mission and engage a new generation of conservationists. I am ecstatic about the possibilities.”
- Trees produce oxygen, purify drinking water and clean the air to benefit a healthier population.
- Trees abate the effects of climate change and provide an important buffer against severe weather, protecting homes, businesses and human lives.
- Trees provide a way for people living in urban areas to get outside and connect with nature to benefit physical and emotional health.
- A quarter of the nation’s trees are located in urban parks, along streets and in our backyards.
- Nationally, urban forests contain about 3.8 billion trees and represent a huge investment in green infrastructure with an estimated value of $2.4 trillion.
- The health of urban forests is linked to the health of natural forests as cities have historically been the introduction point for non-native insects and diseases.