A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Tree Week 2020 to highlight benefits of urban trees during annual Lexington celebration Oct. 10-17

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Tree Week 2020 will continue its annual celebration of Lexington’s trees and green spaces with online and small, socially-distanced in-person activities Oct. 10-17. The Urban Forest Initiative coordinates the free, weeklong celebration in collaboration with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the Lexington Public Library, Fayette County Public Schools,...

Everything has a season, and autumn in Kentucky is a time to view changing fall colors on trees

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Every year around this time, nature shakes off her summer greens, grown dusty and dim, and reaches into her closet for her autumn jewels. Kentucky is one of the best places in the country to view fall colors. While people look forward to that impressive display of reds, yellows and oranges, the change is not merely for show. It’s part of a very important...

Kentucky Seasonal Food Resource Hub offers ways to use local veggies; benefits farmers, customers

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky A weekly share from a local Community Supported Agriculture program can hold familiar foods like tomatoes and surprising treasures like squash blossoms or kohlrabi. Customers often turn to the farmer with questions like “What in the world do I do with squash blossoms?” and “What is this strange green bulb?” The Kentucky Seasonal Food Resource Hub,...

HealthyWoods app helps owners understand woodlands with research-based information

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky A new mobile app makes receiving research-based woodland management information as easy as reaching for the phone. HealthyWoods, a collaborative effort between forest specialists from Kentucky and other hardwood-producing states in the Appalachian region, provides woodland owners with a convenient tool to scout the health of their woods. “Traditional extension...

UK graduate celebrates wildlife 365 days a year as scientist with Department of Fish and Wildlife

By Carol Lea Spence and Seth Riker University of Kentucky The beginning of September brings wildlife awareness with the 64th anniversary of Congress’s passage of the Wilderness Act, the purpose of which was to preserve and protect certain lands, and secure the benefits of wilderness for future generations. Following on its heels is National Wildlife Day, a holiday to promote endangered species conservation...

UK Forestry and Natural Resources technicians study new invader in Kentucky forests — laurel wilt disease

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Megan Buland bent over a spicebush in Floracliff Nature Sanctuary, looking for the elusive spicebush swallowtail caterpillar in its tiniest larval stage. Buland, a forest health technician with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is getting a baseline count this summer as part of a study on the effects of the fungal disease,...

Registration open for Kentucky Woodland Owners Short Course; online evening webinars offered

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The 2020 Kentucky Woodland Owners Short Course will provide new and experienced woodland owners with a bounty of important information about managing their woodlands for extra income, recreation, wildlife and with the environment in mind. “Not everyone knows where to turn to for advice on how to meet their objectives for their property, but the Woodland...

Food insecure in Kentucky? Not if UK Cooperative Extension has a say in battle against hunger

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the state, sickening people, shuttering businesses, closing schools and temporarily crimping the food supply, a lot of people found themselves suddenly wondering how they would be able to feed their families. Without any warning, more Kentuckians than usual found themselves among the “food insecure.” To be food insecure...

UK plant virologist known as ‘Veggie Man’ zooms to Kenya, helps to bridge cultures from Lexington

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky “Connection” is arguably Professor Michael Goodin’s favorite word. Whether it’s through his University of Kentucky coffee class, his research into plant diseases, his passion for food or his blog, The Green Orange Café, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment plant virologist is always looking for the connection that links everything or everyone. It...

UK leads national team studying pandemic’s effect on local food systems; USDA partners in research

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services Division is partnering with the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University and Penn State University on a $1 million cooperative research agreement to conduct a national study on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on local food systems. Co-principal investigators Lilian Brislen and...

Walk Across Kentucky, a new video experience, allows everyone to journey the Bluegrass from home

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky There’s the long way to walk across Kentucky, striding 449 miles from Hickman on the Mississippi River to Ashland on the West Virginia border. There’s a shorter route, taking the two-mile trail through The Arboretum’s Walk Across Kentucky. And there’s the shortest route: staying at home and taking a virtual walk while watching a new video about the...

UK Cooperative Extension agents help as Kentucky’s farmers markets open with an eye toward safe sales

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky In the United States, about 40 percent of farmers are 65 or older, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s census. Kentucky reflects that demographic, so when the coronavirus started to emerge in the state, some farmers who were in the elevated risk category and typically sell through farmers markets were a little concerned about how they would...

First-generation students can find support to overcome obstacles during college journey

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky For students returning to school or just starting their college careers, the fall semester may look different than they were expecting. Yet, for many of those students, the first in their families to enroll in college, the opportunities for success are still out there, and professors, administrators, staff and even nonprofits are available to help them succeed. Though...

Late frosts in weekend forecast for much of state could provide challenges for Kentucky gardeners

By Carol Lea Spence UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Unseasonably cold temperatures are putting the kibosh on the spring dreams of many Kentucky gardeners, who are itching to plant young annuals or vegetables or may already have done so. Though it is late in the season for frosts and freezes, especially in Western Kentucky, there is the potential in the short-range forecast for multiple...

KSBDC, Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offices to advise businesses during pandemic

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky If there’s a direct pipeline in Kentucky’s counties for the transmission of research-based, pertinent information to the people who need it, it’s Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Recognizing the ties extension agents have to their communities, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center is working closely with county extension offices during...

UK Extension Homemakers contribute to community safety by making personal protective equipment

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Necessity is the mother of invention. Bourbon Community Hospital in Paris took that old saw to heart when they, like so many other hospitals and medical facilities in the state, were contemplating how to acquire extra personal protective equipment to prepare for a possible onslaught of patients with COVID-19. The solution turned out to be in their own surgical...

Earth Day celebrates 50th anniversary amid COVID-19; UK water specialist gives eco-friendly advice

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Earth Day is 50 years old. It has a distinguished history, contributing to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. According to the Earth Day website, the day “is marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human...

UK Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development agents partnering with teachers on ‘home work’

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Schools may be shuttered, but instruction goes on, albeit in a nontraditional way. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development agents, who have worked closely with teachers in their classrooms, have shifted their traditional classroom enrichment programming to provide classes with projects and tools for remote, nontraditional instruction. Mackenzie...

Think before flushing, plus other tips for protecting yourself and Kentucky’s water resources

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The coronavirus has forced people to either retreat into their homes or get out and explore the natural world more. Either way, water is a big part of everyone’s daily lives, and it’s important to protect Kentucky’s most valuable natural resource. For many Kentuckians pushed inside by COVID-19 social distancing practices, sanitizing anything that doesn’t...

UK extension service offering free ‘Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays’ to bring spring into your home

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Stuck in the house and dreaming of spring and gardens? The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is offering free “Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays” on a number of topics. Participants will glean information they will need as the days grow longer and they spend more time “social distancing” outside in their gardens. UK specialists and...