In 2014, a group of UK faculty, staff, and students recognized an increased need for more urban forestry programming on UK’s campus. With less than 17% canopy cover and frequent shifts in the campus landscape, UK’s campus trees have and continue to face the challenges that are characteristic of urban environments, such as construction, soil quality, proper tree care, and potentially harmful pests and diseases. In the face of these challenges, founding members saw tremendous opportunity to enhance the campus tree canopy and its associated benefits.
The Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) has since served to champion the elevated perception, value and function of the urban forest on campus and beyond. These efforts, along with contributions from a strong collaborative body of campus and community partners, have achieved significant and positive impacts on the public’s awareness of and active involvement in the support, care, and expansion of our local tree canopy.
The UFI working group meets regularly throughout the year, usually during the spring and fall semester. All meetings are held remotely on Zoom.
The UFI working group, with the support of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, exists to provide a dynamic framework for opportunities to partner across organizational and community boundaries that will serve to enhance urban forests in our region. Collaborators in this group bring a wide array of skills and expertise from within UK, as well as the surrounding Bluegrass Region. Currently, UFI subcommittees are working on several distinct projects:
- Tree Week
- Seminar Series
- Education and Outreach
- Tree Protection and Canopy Enhancement
- Urban and Community Forestry Undergraduate Certificate
- UK Tree Advisory Committee
Meet the UFI Team
The impact of the UFI core team and the regional working group has been strengthened through the many partnerships and collaborations over the years, consistently proving the power of working together toward common urban and community forestry goals.