MEDIA ADVISORY: First tree to be planted in major study of impact of foliage on health



    The first of thousands of trees planned for a major study of the effects of trees and other plants on health will be planted on the grounds of a local elementary school. The planting of a catalpa tree kicks off a collaboration between Green Heart Louisville, Semple Elementary School and the Compassionate Schools Project. Students from the school will welcome the tree with songs, spoken word and messages about kindness that will be placed in the ground with the tree’s roots.


    Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., professor of medicine, director of the UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and lead investigator of the Green Heart Louisville project.

    Danielle Randle, principal of Semple Elementary School

    Third graders at Semple Elementary School, their families and friends.


    12:50 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. EDT, Friday, March 22, 2019


    Semple Elementary School, 724 Denmark St., Louisville. On the playground.

    WHY:    More than half the world’s population resides in urban areas, which have higher-than-average levels of air pollution. Air pollution is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease and is linked to 7 million premature deaths worldwide, and 200,000 in the United States, each year. Green Heart Louisville is testing the connections between a green environment and human health. The researchers study how the tree canopy affects air quality, heart health, the risk for developing diabetes and obesity, and other aspects of human health.

    Over the next few years, Green Heart Louisville will plant thousands of trees, shrubs and grasses to create a robust and sustainable ecosystem maximized to remove air pollution. The project’s researchers will monitor changes in pollution, physical and mental health, and social interaction resulting from the increased vegetation.


    Betty Coffman, 502-852-4573, (prior to event)

    Joy Hart, 502-386-4414 (on site during event)


    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.