7 ways to celebrate Earth Day in Kentucky

By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky

Enjoying the great outdoors and connecting with nature has been a way to find comfort during a difficult past year, making Earth Day especially important in 2021.

Kentucky is filled with beauty and opportunities to enjoy the outside, so we’ve put together some ideas for places and spaces in the Commonwealth to celebrate Mother Nature this year.

1. Take Exercise Outside

The Parklands at Floyd’s Fork and Louisville’s Olmstead Parks offer great trails and tree-lined paths for biking, hiking, running or walking. Schedule some time in your workday to get outside or plan a family trip to the park after work.

Additionally, Elizabethtown’s Freeman Lake Park or Lexington’s Legacy Trail offer great gravel paths and paved trailways for exercise and activities.

2. Volunteer Or Visit At A Local Or National Park

With the largest underground cave in the world right here in the state, it seems like a no-brainer to celebrate Earth Day and one of its marvels. Mammoth Cave National Park offers several activities besides cave tours such as hiking, biking and camping. The park will also be hosting several outdoor volunteer activities this year along park trails and cemeteries. You can find out more here.

Land Between the Lakes is another national recreation area shared between Kentucky and Tennessee where visitors can enjoy elk and bison sightseeing, camping, birding, kayaking and canoeing.

3. Go Camping

One of eastern Kentucky’s treasures boasts some of the best camping sites in the state. And while camping at Red River Gorge, don’t forget to stop by Miguel’s Pizza for dinner. Somehow pizza tastes better in nature.

Other camping options across the state include: Natural Bridge State Resort ParkBig Bone Lick State Historic Site and Barren River Lake State Resort Park.

4. Start Composting

Got a green thumb? Now is the time to use it. Americans throw out 25 percent of the food they prepare, which costs nearly $1 billion annually to dispose of. Wasted food typically ends up in landfills, which is harmful to the planet.

Check out this link to find composting options near you. One option in central Kentucky is Treehouse Compost, which serves Fayette, Madison and Jessamine counties. Subscribers collect the food scraps and Treehouse Compost employees pick it up and take it a farm where it becomes rich soil amendment. Make an impact this Earth Day!

Photo: Treehouse Compost Facebook

5. Plant A Tree

Trees give off oxygen we need to breathe. They provide shade, reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution in our waterways and provide food, protection and so much more to the animals living in our ecosystem. But wait, there’s more!

Researchers at the University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Institute is conducting a study aimed at finding out if trees can heal cardiovascular disease in humans. To find out the team has planted up to 10,000 trees over the past three year in neighborhoods throughout Louisville. The Envirome Institute director hopes the experiment will impact urban spaces across the country.

So, plant a tree this Earth Day. There’s no doubt we could all use a little more green.

6. Get On The Water

If the weather is right and the sun is shining, Earth Day provides a great excuse to get out on the water. So, what’s the prettiest lake in Kentucky?

Laurel River Lake was recently recognized as Kentucky’s prettiest lake. Located in London, it offers boating, fishing, swimming and scuba diving in one of the state’s deepest and clearest lakes.

7. Start A Garden

Kentucky isn’t called the Bluegrass State for nothin’. The state boasts some of the best weather for planting flowers and gardening.

Kentucky experiences all four seasons and because of that scores well on the USDA’s plant hardiness scale. Gardening in a USDA zone 6 is rewarding because so many plants perform well here. Adding native plants to your garden and landscaping can also give a boost to Kentucky’s ecosystem. Learn more here.

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