Healing the Air: Cindi Sullivan
Cindi Sullivan, the executive director of Trees Louisville, is also doing her part to improve our air quality. In response to Metro Louisville’s tree assessment, which concluded Louisville was losing 54,000 trees per year — the equivalent of 820 acres, or the size of two Cherokee Parks — Cindi helped launch this non-profit dedicated to increasing our city’s deficient tree canopy.
“We are a lean, mean, tree-planting machine,” Cindi says. “Since March of 2015, we have helped to plant and distribute 10,000 trees.”
Cindi explains that trees are vital for our air quality as they intercept small particulate matter that, once inhaled, leads to pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. Trees also help to sequester carbon dioxide that contributes to warming our planet, creating a cooler city. Trees Louisville has partnered with JCPS to plant trees on school campuses, free of charge, throughout the city. Trees Louisville also provides science classrooms with online tools and software that help students measure and identify trees, as well as calculate the monetary value of air quality, carbon sequestering, and storm drainage.
Another partnership with the Kentucky Department of Transportation has resulted in planting trees in large plots of land that were covered in grass and required mowing. Cindi explains that planting trees instead of fescue helps to sequester more of the particulate matter, exacerbated by mowing. “The trees become biofilters for pollution — they are basic green screens,” she says.
Lastly, Trees Louisville’s partnership with Louisville Metro has resulted in promoting residential tree planting by providing a 40 percent refund (up to $80) for residents that purchase and plant certain tree species through the Tree Canopy Program. This fall, the program will be giving away free trees at two local events.