Bernheim Shines Light on Trees Facing Extinction
“Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat” features disappearing trees throughout the world, Kentucky
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is bringing the plight of trees to the public’s attention with a new traveling exhibit from The Morton Arboretum. Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat opens at Bernheim on March 15 and runs through July 5. A public opening will be held on April 2.
The exhibit will be set up in and around the Two Ponds Loop trail behind the Visitor Center.
The Morton Arboretum developed and produced the exhibit in association with the Global Trees Campaign. Bernheim worked with Morton Arboretum to bring it to Kentucky, one of 14 states and three countries where it has been displayed.
“Unfortunately large forest blocks dedicated to conservation like Bernheim are becoming more and more rare,” said Dr. Mark Wourms, Bernheim’s executive director. “Thousands of trees disappear from the landscape everyday including right here in Kentucky. Yet trees are vital not only to wildlife but to mankind.”
Wourms said that Bernheim wants to inspire people to save endangered trees and show how trees enrich our lives. “While the public often thinks of animals as endangered, it doesn’t consider trees the same way,” said Wourms. In fact, according to the World List of Threatened Trees, more than 8,000 tree species (10 percent of the world’s total) are threatened with extinction. For example, there are less than 100 mature Wollemi Pines in the wild.
Panels featuring 15 trees from around the world, including the Wollemi Pine, are in the exhibit and where possible, Bernheim’s horticulturists have planted examples of these precious species.
“The team work painstakingly to find these rare species to include in the exhibit,” said Eric Garris, Bernheim horticulturist. “We are thrilled that visitors will be able to see them.”
Visitors will be invited to embark upon a global journey exploring compelling tree stories from around the world.
Each story reflects the exhibit’s primary theme—that we must protect endangered trees so that future generations may experience their numerous benefits, including medicinal, agricultural, ecological, and aesthetic.
“The exhibit will help people understand why we all must protect trees, and how everyone can act as a champion for trees,” said Wourms. “It doesn’t have to be on the scale of Bernheim. Everyone can play a part in their own back yard, place of business or local community.”
That includes businesses like Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, one of the exhibit’s sponsors. “We are pleased to sponsor this exhibit,” said Laura Douglas, LG&E and KU vice president of Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs. “This aligns perfectly with our Plant for the Planet program that supports organizations like Bernheim in their tree planting efforts.”
The exhibit also calls attention to the many threats facing trees today, including unsustainable harvesting, land-use changes, invasive species, climate change, and pollution. It also acknowledges the need to balance immediate human needs with long-term sustainability.
Adjacent to the exhibit, Bernheim is also planting trees native to Kentucky that it is calling Kentucky Trees of Concern – trees that while not facing extinction are in a more vulnerable state.
In addition to the exhibit, Bernheim is offering a wide array of programming and events with a focus on trees. Programming includes Tree Eats Along the Trail on April 16, a “Poet-Tree” Writing Workshop on April 23, A Tribute to Trees on June 11 and much more. Full details on the programs are available at bernheim.org.
Bernheim Education Manager, Whitney Wurzel, said that the exhibit has inspired the Bernheim team.
“We are passionate about helping people grow their appreciation and understanding of nature,” said Wurzel. “This exhibit and our accompanying programs will help show how we can all make a difference.”
Wurzel added that hosting this exhibit and inspiring others to protect and plant trees is a great tribute to founder Isaac W. Bernheim.
“When he set aside this land as a gift to the people of Kentucky in 1929, it had been heavily forested but he saw to the replacement of lost trees and the restoration of the ecologically diverse and healthy forest the public has enjoyed for more than three quarters of a century,” said Wurzel.
About Bernheim. Bernheim’s mission is to connect people with nature. Whiskey maker, Isaac W. Bernheim established the 14,000+ acre arboretum and research forest in 1929 as a gift to the people of Kentucky. Bernheim’s gate is open every day 7 a.m. until approximately sunset, except December 25 and January 1. Admission to the park is always free for members and free for all every weekday. Weekends and holidays have a $5 environmental impact fee per vehicle for the public. Schools and tour groups are welcome; please call in advance for fees and scheduling. The Visitor Center and Gift Shop are open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day, including weekends. Isaac’s Café, located in the Visitor Center, is open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. with refreshments. Bernheim is located in Clermont, KY, about 20 minutes from the Louisville airport. From I-65, take exit 112 and follow the signs. The entrance is approximately one mile from the interstate. Bernheim is a non-profit organization that relies on memberships, grants and donations for support.
About The Morton Arboretum. The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, working to save and plant trees. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum features magnificent collections of 4,128 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. Central Time until sunset. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit Press Room at www.mortonarb.org, or call to learn more.
For more information call 270-872-8001 or visit bernheim.org