Our team at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is pleased to report that, by our accounts, we will soon officially hold the Guinness World Record for the most people hugging trees at the same time at the same place! A big thank you to the 1,416 people that turned out on Saturday, June 4 for the Bernheim Big Tree Hug Challenge.
We anticipate being named the new record holder once all final documentation is submitted to Guinness. South Korea currently holds the record at 1,200.
While all who participated can take great pride in setting the new record, it’s what we do afterwards that’s most important. Whether it’s protecting large forest blocks like Bernheim or planting trees at your place of business or in your own backyard, everyone can play a part in protecting trees.
Our 14,500-acre forest has a long legacy of environmental conservation. When Founder Isaac W. Bernheim set aside this land as a gift to the people of Kentucky in 1929, it had been heavily deforested.
“Mr. Bernheim saw to the replacement of the lost trees and the restoration of the ecologically diverse and healthy forest the public has enjoyed for more than three quarters of a century,” said Dr. Mark Wourms, Bernheim’s Executive Director. “The Tree Hug is, in many ways, a celebration of his legacy.”
The Tree Hug was hosted in conjunction with the traveling exhibit Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat on display at Bernheim through July 5.
The Morton Arboretum produced the exhibit which shines a spotlight on the plight of trees today and how many species are threatened with extinction, much like the animals whose habitats they provide.
LG&E-KU, Bullitt County Tourism and Louisville Water Company sponsored the Tree Hug. Media partners WHAS 11 and Louisville Public Media also supported the event and helped increase participation.