Greening the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Over the last several months, Green Friends of the Games has worked diligently to improve different areas of the Kentucky Horse Park before the start of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Some of the greening projects include improving water quality in and around the Horse Park, placing recycle bins around the park, and planting native Kentucky vegetation and trees.

"We have a lot of projects, and we're just glad to have made the Games as green as possible," said Carol Hanley, Ed.D., Environmental and Natural Resources Initiative College of Agriculture and associate director of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment.

On May 10, as part of the Cane Run Watershed restoration project, more than 25 volunteers began planting a streamside buffer zone composed of native vegetation, perennials, tall grasses, and trees along the stream between the original indoor arena and Horse Park office buildings. The project was then completed by College of Agriculture extension staff.

The purpose of the streamside buffer zone is to filter water run-off before it reaches the stream, which will improve the water quality, Hanley said. The buffer zone also prevents soil erosion and provides a habitat for wildlife to thrive.

Along with water quality improvement at the Horse Park, measures for better recycling are also underway. The addition of recycling bins around the Horse Park will allow visitors the opportunity to recycle their plastic bottles, programs, and other recyclable materials. Composting and food waste collection is also part of the waste reduction plan. All plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and straws distributed through concessions will be made of compostable materials.

The recycling bins were paid for with money raised during The Green Friends of the Games fundraising event in May. The bins will remain at the Horse Park once the Games are over. As part of another project, area hotels are encouraged to compost food waste and install rain gardens on their premises. A list of green hotels will be available.

World Equestrian Games attendees also will be able to purchase carbon offsets from the forests of Eastern Kentucky to help reduce their travel emissions. This project is being implemented through the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Rural Action and Appalachian Sustainable Development.

According to Irene DeLuna, program associate, Forest Opportunities Initiative Mountain Association for Community Economic Development Inc., "Nearly 90% of forestland in the region is privately owned, and less than 5% is under some sort of management plan. This project targets private landowners to bring their property under sustainable management for the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon and for the protection and enhancement of the forests for biodiversity, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Currently there are 41 landowners covering nearly 26,000 acres, with another 52 landowners actively pursuing the enrollment of around 30,000 acres. The Appalachian Forest Offsets offer a greater value than many other offsets, as Central Appalachia is a particularly important region in the climate change debate."

For more information on making the Games green, visit

Alexandra Harper is a UK equine intern and recent graduate with a BA in Communication.

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