Operation Reforest a success for Northern Kentucky

Euphoric looks coupled with warm weather contributed to a relaxing tree-planting experience for volunteers, including some Northern Kentucky University students, April 5 at AJ Jolly Park. Shovels, mud and rolled-up sleeves were seen throughout the park.

Service on Saturday, an annual day of volunteering, is part of an continued by NKU to promote awareness of deteriorating forest conditions in Northern Kentucky.

Volunteers, groups and organizations came to plant 3,000 native tree species to restore some open areas back to the native forest, creating a healthy and sustainable environment for wildlife. Ultimately, the goal is to improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce maintenance costs, according to the Center for Applied Ecology.

NKU and Northern Kentucky Urban ‘ Community Forestry Council teamed up to promote this event sponsored by the Freshman Leadership Committee. The SOS was established in 2003 with only 70 volunteers, blossoming to more than 300 volunteers each year for the past two years.

WNKU 89.7 FM was on deck with raffle contests. SigEp, BUS Theta Phi Alpha ando other student groups helped. Bottled water, fruit, donuts, coffee and granola bars were given to volunteers for their efforts.

“I just thought I would get out here and plant trees and help the environment. “It’s very good that the university has people planting trees here all over the place. It’s a good thing. I will definitely come back,” said Amy Denham, a junior majoring in Environmental Science.

Denham’s friend doesn’t want to give the impression that his field doesn’t care about the environment, despite its technical nature.

“Doing something like this is a good opportunity to come out and get some fresh air and exercise too, get away from the computer every once in a while,” said Michael Parece Jr., a senior majoring in Computer Science. “The environmental benefits are very numerous in an event like this.”

He said he hopes to bring family with him next time. The FSLC also visited the Northern Kentucky Children’s Home, where they planned games and activities for the 62 boys there.