LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Boys and Girls Haven on Goldsmith Lane is celebrating its 70th year of empowering and uplifting children who often have nowhere to go. Through those years the Watterson Expressway developed and grew near their location, which has added a lot of pollutants that can be harmful.
24 trees were planted by volunteers on Sunday who want to help improve the lives of the boys and girls who live on campus. The trees will help eliminate some some of the negative impacts that comes with living right next to the Watterson.
Alan Gates, a Boys and Girls Haven alumni, said the life lesson he will never forget learning from the organization’s founder is if you want to improve yourself or situation, you have to work and work hard. That message has carried him to his adult years and is one of the reasons he came out to plant trees and improve the situation for future generations.
“The field that’s behind us is the athletic field where we used to play softball and football and the kids still do that," Gates said. “And I think absorbing some of that sound that you hear right now will help these kids feel more like this is their backyard rather than a field by the expressway.”
Gates said the pollution and traffic on the Watterson is about ten times what it was when he lived on the campus.
Joshua White with the Highlands Tree Planting Initiative helped plant trees to eliminate some of the pollutants near the campus. He said the pollution can cause asthma and cardiovascular inflammation.
“When you have 93 decibel levels of sound all day long and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, we have a lot of evidence that this could be detrimental for brain development," White said.
He’s expecting a 5 to 10 percent drop in air pollution when the trees are planted and hoping for a 50 to 90 percent drop in light pollution from the highway.
There are three phases to this project. Organizers say they don’t know when it will be completed because that will be based on funding. However they say they have the will power and the people to help get it done.