CLERMONT ee" For eight decades Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest has been connecting people with nature.
That continues to be the goal as those who love the forest and support its mission prepare to celebrate its 80th anniversary this Saturday.
Bernheim’s 80th Anniversary Bash is a once-in-a-lifetime event as the forest reflects upon its rich history and looks to a bright future that is being led by Executive Director Dr. Mark Wourms.
Wourms is also celebrating an anniversary ee" his first year serving as director of the 14,000-acre facility that resides in both Bullitt an Nelson counties.
From proposals to first kisses, fishing memories, weddings or the first memory of nature, Marketing and Communications Officer Susan Ritter said there are a lot of memories to celebrate.
Wourms said the celebration will honor all the fun, education and first-time experiences that have happened at Bernheim over the years.
“We’ve been hearing people tell their own stories. I can’t tell how many stories we’ve heard. Very monumental events in people’s lives have occurred right here,” he said.
Bernheim was established May 10, 1929 by Isaac W. Bernheim who purchased the 14,000 acres of farmland in 1928. According to Bernheim’s historical timeline, the land was heavily logged and in need of revitalization.
The arboretum and research forest opened to the public in July 1950. From there, numerous plant collections and gardens were established, and different wildlife species were reintroduced to the area. The forest continues to grow and change. Wourms said the 80th anniversary bash will honor that history and create new hope for the forest’s future.
“We need to teach to the heart and the mind to be effective. We work at connecting people to nature in so many angles and that’s what the 80th anniversary is going to do,” Wourms said.
The 80th anniversary bash is free and is a family friendly event lasting all day.
Bluegrass music will entertain guests from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Guests will include local artists Clinton Spaulding, John Wiggington, Allen Peavler and Relic, a Louisville bluegrass band.
Games will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will include turkey calling, sack races, seed spitting, water balloon toss, egg and spoon races and corn hole games.
Local artists were also invited to come out and share their nature-inspired talents with the crowd.
Ritter encouraged patrons and those who’ve never experienced what Bernheim has to offer to come out and be a part of its history.
“It’s great family time,” Ritter said.
Wourms said it’s especially important for parents to expose their children to nature an all its wonders. He said the 80th anniversary bash would be a perfect time to do that and create lasting memories.
“If kids have exciting events in nature, then as adults they will enjoy being in science and nature,” he said.
Aside from the day’s planned events, Ritter said she and Wourms are encouraging families to take advantage of the 80 Wonderful Things to do at Bernheim, which are available daily and include fishing, hiking, bike riding, wildlife observation, visiting the education and visitor centers and more.
Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic style lunch. Bratwurst, hamburgers, grilled corn, hand-dipped ice cream and watermelon will also be for sale for those wanting to grab a meal at the event.
Events will take place around the arboretum and on the Green Lawn and the Research Center.
For more information, visit www.bernheim.org or call 955-8512.
A brief timeline of Bernheim’s history ee" information courtesy of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest:
1928: Isaac W. Bernheim purchases 14,000 acres of heavily logged and worn out farmland in Bullitt and Nelson Counties.
1929: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is established May 10.
1935: The Board of Trustees adopts the Frederick Law Olmsted firm’s original arboretum design.
1949: Lake Nevin is impounded and named in honor of Mr. Hugh L. Nevin, former President of the Board of Trustees.
1950: Bernheim opens to the public in July.
1961: A Nature Museum is built, offering programs about birds, wildflowers, history, horticulture, nature and related subjects to school children and visitors.
1963: The Arboretum Center is built on the shore of Lake Nevin.
1976: The Holly collection undergoes significant expansion becoming one of the largest collections of American Hollies in North America.
1982: Wild turkeys are successfully reintroduced to Bernheim.
1997: The Visitor Center is remodeled and a new greenhouse is completed.
2000: The Millennium Trail is opened and at 13.3 miles, it’s Bernheim’s longest.
2001: A capital campaign is launched for new exhibits, a new visitor center, research center, trails and walkways, lakeside amphitheater and other improvements.
2002: The Lake Nevin Loop Trail and the Hike-Bike Pike are completed.
2005: Bernheim’s capital campaign projects are unveiled including the new “green” Visitor Center, Lakeside State and Woodland Pavilion.
2007: Bernheim’s Visitor Center receives the Platinum LEED award, the first in Kentucky. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings developed by the United States Green Building Council.