A PATH FORWARD
Kentucky Writers and Artists for Reforestation is a collective of creative people with a simple mission: to plant native trees on abandoned strip mines.
Surely there is nothing less partisan than a tree. And as the trees we plant grow, they will sequester carbon to fight climate change (up to 22 tons of carbon in one tree’s lifetime), prevent flooding that has been greatly exacerbated by strip mining, purify streams, hold soil in place, and provide habitat for 250 different songbirds whose populations are in decline throughout the Cumberland Plateau due largely to surface mining.
Kentucky Writers and Artists for Reforestation partners with Green Forests Works, a non-profit forestry organization that has pioneered a technique for growing native hardwoods on strip mines. Invasive shrubs are bulldozed from the planting site. The mines’ heavily compacted soil is ripped loose with an impressive tail-dragger. Then we plant 12 species of native hardwood saplings in that mix of sandstone and shale. These trees will grow twice as fast as they normally would because of the loosened soil, with a survival rate of 75-90%.
As the federal government continues to weaken environmental regulation and deny climate change, we as citizens and artists are working outside the lines of traditional politics to help reestablish the health of our forests and our communities.
We encourage individuals and organizations of all stripes to partner with us as we set off on this woodland path forward.