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Partners in Community Forestry

Louisville, KY

November 17-18, 2021

2021 Field Experiences Included with conference registration

Get outside and enjoy the urban forest at the Partners in Community Forestry Conference. You’ll have the opportunity to choose from several Field Experiences that allow you to learn about local projects, including their successes and challenges. Field Experiences are built into Wednesday afternoon’s agenda and are included in registration.

The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork
Motor Coach Tour

The Parklands is a world-class addition to Louisville’s parks system that includes four major parks linked by a park drive, an urban trail system, and a remarkable water trail, all tracing Floyd’s Fork, a classic Kentucky stream. This public/private project is unique in the region—a truly city-shaping model!

With nearly 4,000 acres of open space, assembled from more than 80 parcels, the Parklands manages for biodiversity as well as human interactions with nature. The long-term goal is to create a healthy, restored native ecosystem on the edge of a major city. Two guiding principles underlie the master plan: managing the successional trajectories of the various parcels; and maximizing the habitat diversity and associated biodiversity.


  • Explore the Moss Gibbs Woodland Garden and reveal the dynamic nature of Kentucky’s living woodland landscape. Cross the signature dry-stack stone bridge and visit the other rooms in the woodland garden: Kentucky Coffee Tree Rondel, Glen Garden, Glade Garden.
  • View the valley of Floyd’s Fork from the Big Vista Overlook and see the George & Betty Gibbs American Chestnut Grove.
  • Hear from local partners engaged in volunteer plantings for watershed improvement and ecological restoration.

Loading Time: 12:15 p.m.   |   Departure Time: 12:30 p.m.

Olmsted’s Louisville Legacy
Motor Coach Tour

“When Frederick Law Olmsted was commissioned to design a park system for Louisville in 1891, he was already the acknowledged father of America landscape design, famous for his work on Central Park in New York, the U.S. Capitol Grounds, and the Biltmore estate grounds. Olmsted’s greatest achievement, however, was his concept of creating a system of parks connected to tree-lined parkways, instead of freestanding parks as was the common practice. His concept was most fully realized in Louisville, the ultimate park system of his career, and one of only four completed such Olmsted systems in the world.” –Olmsted Parks Conservancy website

This tour will showcase the genius of Frederick Law Olmsted's design principles across small neighborhood parks, pocket parks, and a regional park, all connected by parkways.


  • Travel through an Olmsted-planned landscape, over several of the linear Parkways, stopping at several signature parks along the way.
  • Visit the city tree nursery at Seneca Park and discuss the merits of growing your own tree stock for park plantings.

Loading Time: 12:30 p.m.   |   Departure Time: 12:45 p.m.

Louisville Waterfront
Bicycle Tour, limit 25

Once a blighted wasteland filled with scrap yards, heavy industrial uses, and abandoned industrial buildings, Waterfront Park is now an award-winning 85-acre public park in downtown Louisville that hosts more than 2.2 million visitors and 150 events each year. Hear the story of this epic transformation from wasteland to sustainable community amenity while touring the park’s noteworthy destinations, including the Lincoln Memorial created by nationally renowned Louisville artist Ed Hamilton, and the popular Big Four® Bridge, an abandoned railroad bridge converted into a bicycle/pedestrian bridge that connects Louisville and Southern Indiana over the Ohio River.


  • This short tour option (2 hours) is offered through LouVelo, which will provide equipment, consultation, liability waiver, and bike delivery.
  • Tours will depart The Galt House, cross River Road and go directly into Waterfront Park, where the ride will continue across the Big Four Bridge to Indiana using the multi-use path.
  • Park staff will discuss species selection for flood prone areas, evaluations of plant material vigor and longevity, and art installations such as the internationally renowned Ed Hamilton’s Abraham Lincoln sculpture.

Downtown Louisville
Walking Tour

Join Tom Owen, Louisville’s most famous historian, on a walking tour of downtown and Old Louisville. Stroll down the West Main Street Historic District, where you will find the largest collection of cast iron building façades outside of New York City—lovingly restored! As Louisville redevelops from “gray to green,” witness for yourself the transformation in progress!


  • Visit rooftop gardens on the parking structure for the Muhammad Ali Center and at 21C Museum and Hotel.
  • At Fort Nelson Park, see the ironwood trees planted in the streetscape in front of the cast iron buildings.
  • See the beer garden at the Frazier History Museum, historic City Hall and Metro Hall, and Jefferson Square.
  • In Old Louisville, walk past the nation’s largest collection of Victorian mansions in Louisville’s oldest neighborhood, host to century-old trees and new planting projects to retain the robust tree canopy.
  • Stop to hear the history of Central Park—one of the great Olmsted Parks—nestled in a leafy neighborhood.

Teaching About Forests
Indoor Session

Humans depend profoundly on forests, so being knowledgeable about them is crucial for all people. We need to understand not only how they work, but also how we are connected to them ecologically, economically and socially. Project Learning Tree® (PLT) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) are unveiling a new educational resource designed to help forestry professionals, classroom teachers, and environmental stewards give our young people a comprehensive forest education.

In this interactive workshop, participants will examine portions of the Forest Literacy Framework, exploring ways to use this new resource un urban settings. To support forest exploration by every level of learners, participants will explore and receive FREE copies of the new Pocket Guide: Seeds to Trees, which contains four hands-on, minds-on activities to use with the littlest learners, as well as a more advanced Billions of Trees thematic unit to help older youth create their very own path to increasing the forest canopy.


  • Brainstorm ways to use the Forest Literacy Framework to support your work in cities
  • Contribute case studies that will showcase the leadership of urban and community forestry
  • Strategize ways the Forest Literacy Framework can create pathways to green careers.
  • Review the new Pocket Guide: Seeds to Trees and Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers, designed specifically for resource professionals.
  • Receive FREE copies of the Forest Literacy Framework, Pocket Guide: Seeds to Trees, & Billions of Trees resources to support your future efforts in forest-based outreach and education.

Mapping for Equity in the Urban Forest
Indoor Session

Streaming Live

Roundtable Discussion on Tools and Approaches for Equity-Centered Urban Forestry

Urban tree equity analyses help ensure that the benefits of trees are distributed justly and fairly, especially for those who have historically been denied access to them. In this roundtable discussion, experts will present and demonstrate various tools and methods for prioritizing equity in urban forestry planning and operations, including American Forests’ Tree Equity score, USDA Forest Service tools such as i-Tree, STEWMap, Urban FIA, UTC and Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities. After the presentation portion of this workshop, participants will meet in small groups to explore how these tools may support their own equity-centered urban forestry work.


  • Learn about accessible tools for planning equity-centered approaches to urban forestry.
  • Learn a typology of tools for various applications, scales, and scenarios.
  • Explore ways these tools can be leveraged and used separately or in combination to assist in the promotion of equity in urban and community forestry programming.