The Appalachian Regional Commission is giving a $300,000 grant to the University of Kentucky Research Foundation for the Green Forests Work for Appalachia program.
The Green Forest Works Program will work in conjunction with Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative to reforest over one million acres of post Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) surface mining land in eight Appalachian states.
The Green Forests Work for Appalachia will use a seed grant to establish the Green Forests Work (GFW) program. The GFW program will reforest post-SMCRA mine sites to provide jobs, produce forest products for future use, and restore environmental infrastructure. This project involves hiring people who will develop a business plan and organize the development of a 501c3 that will solicit and secure funds for GFW activities, provide oversight of the program’s implementation and work with the American Chestnut Foundation state chapters to ensure local breeding orchards are working to meet the demand of blight-resistant seed stock.
In addition to the $300,000 in ARC funds, the University of Kentucky will provide $90,126 through in-kind resources, bringing the total project funding to $390,126.
A tree-planting event is set for 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Fishtrap Lake watershed in Pike County. At least 100 volunteers from Berea College, University of Kentucky, the Sierra Club and other organizations are expected to participate in the event.
Volunteers will plant 1,800 black walnut nuts gathered and prepared by Berea students, and 1,500 black walnut seedlings purchased by the GFW program will also be planted.