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Louisville Parks join the Natural Areas Conservancy Network to Advocate for Healthy Urban Forests in American Cities

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The other teams joining the network are Washington D.C., Philadelphia, PA, Atlanta, GA, New Haven, CT, and Montgomery, AL.

LOUISVILLE, KY – July 11, 2022 Forests in cities make urban areas more livable and offer a suite of ecosystem benefits. Ensuring the health of these urban natural resources requires novel and collaborative efforts, both locally and nationally. This year, Natural Areas Conservancy’s 12-city network is growing to 18 with the introduction of six new teams to the network, including Louisville, Kentucky.

Within Louisville’s network of urban green space and forests, the Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability, Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Louisville Parks and Recreation’s Natural Areas Division, and Wilderness Louisville are working together on projects described here in three areas:

1) Collaborate with the other 17 cities within the network to learn best practices

2) Share agency lessons and expertise to inform future stewardship efforts and set long-range plan goals

3) Advocate for increased resources, accessibility, and support

In 2019, the NAC created the Forest in Cities (FIC) National Network to promote and advance healthy forested natural areas in American cities through science, management, partnerships, and communications. The FIC network engages expert teams from metro regions across the United States — teams which were selected through a competitive process and are composed of professionals working in nonprofits, municipal and county governments, academic institutions, and private contracting.

“Investing in Louisville’s protected natural areas is vital for the health of Louisville’s environment and the people who live here by fighting climate change, minimizing urban heat, providing recreational opportunities, and protecting critical habitats,” said Julie Donna, Sustainability Coordinator of Louisville Metro Government. “Our Prepare Louisville climate adaptation plan emphasizes that our natural systems need to be conserved, protected, and restored to continue to provide these essential functions to our community. We hope that joining the network will bring national expertise and support for increased resources to Louisville’s world-renowned parks and forests.”

“We look forward to learning and sharing with other cities in the network,” said Jessica Kane, Interim Park Administrator at Natural Areas Division/Jefferson Memorial Forest Louisville Metro Parks & Recreation. “Healthy urban forests and natural areas provide a wealth of social, economic, and climate benefits. We are excited for Louisville to join the collaboration.”

“Joining this network will not only allow us to work with natural area practitioners and experts from around the country but will also allow us to work side by side with accomplished organizations and leaders in our own community as we collectively advocate for improvements to Louisville’s natural spaces,” said Randy Strobo at Conservation Chair at Wilderness Louisville.

“We’re excited to join the network,” said Liz Winlock, Project Manager at Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “We hope to raise awareness of the importance of urban green space and create a healthier city for humans, plants and wildlife.”  


About Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc., a non-profit organization, was established in 1989 to restore, enhance and forever protect Louisville’s historic 17 Olmsted Parks and 6 Parkways. Working as a non-profit partner with Louisville Parks and Recreation, the Conservancy provides planning and funding for park improvements and natural areas management through donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. In 2019, Olmsted Parks Conservancy celebrated our 30th year connecting nature and neighborhood and overseeing $40 million in investment in our Olmsted Parks. 

About Natural Areas Conservancy
Natural Areas Conservancy champions urban natural areas in New York City and across the nation through innovative research, partnerships, and advocacy. We increase the health and resilience of urban forests and wetlands, catalyze connections between people and nature, and strengthen the environmental workforce.

About Wilderness Louisville
Wilderness Louisville, Inc. is the 501(c)(3) non-profit that raises funds for and supports the Louisville Parks and Recreation Department’s Natural Areas Division, based at the 6,800-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest (JMF), and its programmatic initiatives in the community including the Louisville ECHO program. Wilderness Louisville’s mission is to be the champion for Louisville’s natural areas, from the nation’s largest municipally-owned deciduous urban forest, Jefferson Memorial Forest, to the ones in your backyard. Since its inception in 2013, Wilderness Louisville has raised funds to support youth programming, land conservation, capital facility improvement, and ecological restoration activities. Wilderness Louisville’s board is committed to promoting equitable access to the outdoors. Find out more at

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