On March 2, 2012, nineteen tornadoes devastated Kentucky, killing 22 people and destroyed hundreds of homes. The tornadoes also uprooted hundreds of thousands of trees, leaving a physical scar on the landscape.

Now, the Kentucky Community Tree Recovery Campaign—created by the Forestry and Arbor Day Foundation—is helping the landscape recover by distributing 25,000 trees to people living in Campbell, Menifee, Wolfe, Laurel and Johnson Counties.

This project is being done with the help of corporations such as FedEx and LexMark, who are paying for the trees. They are also sending volunteers to help plant the trees in neighborhoods and parks.  The trees are being distributed to citizens by local fire departments, extension offices, and city halls.

Homeowners receiving trees may also receive plant care materials and can even choose which seedling they want.  Ultimately, organizers such as Leah Macswords, director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry, hope the seedlings will grow to be much more than trees.  “Planting a tree is an expression of hope,” said Macswords.  “So, any time you're planting a tree, you're hoping it's going to grow; it's going to leaf out. It's going to provide all the benefits that trees provide."

Five more counties will get 25,000 more trees next year.