Lady Bird Johnson's Impact on Local Environment

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

Lady Bird Johnson arrived on Sunday, July 15, at her final resting place beneath a canopy of oak trees at the family's ranch near Austin, Texas.

A procession carried Lady Bird to her burial. She'll be buried beside the late President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Lady Bird Johnson died Wednesday at 94.

Relatives and friends remembered her as an astute businesswoman, a woman who worked to preserve nature and the devoted wife of a president.

Over the years Lady Bird Johnson has had an impact on communities nationwide with the work she did for the environment. Her mark is still being seen in South-Central Kentucky.

At an early age, Lady Bird Johnson grew fond of nature.

"She lost her mother when she was very, very young and one of the things that helped her get through that experience was her mother's love of gardens, trees, and so on, and she loved that beauty," said Jeff Moore, with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and chairman of Operation Pride.

This fondness of the environment continued throughout her life, including when her husband took office in 1963.

"Ladybird Johnson, back when her husband became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, one of her missions at that time was to help the nation heal," Moore said.

Lady Bird Johnson decided to do this by helping add to the look of our road systems that were developing quickly across the nation.

"One of the best things she's known for are these Lady Bird Johnson trees. There was funding set aside in federal highway projects, reconstruction projects, and new construction where landscaping was incorporated within the construction," Moore explained.

In towns nationwide, including Bowling Green, you can find trees planted as part of Johnson's project to improve the roads landscaping.

"Many of them are still here today. They're starting to show some wear and tear," Moore said.

Merely an idea to help the nation heal has now become a lasting legacy to the former first lady.

"She was a great lady, and had a very full life. If any of us can be that lucky to have that full of a life and give that much back to her community, which was Texas, as well as the nation, I think that's something we all need to strive for as we remember her," Moore said.

In Bowling Green, you can find the Lady Bird trees along parts of Scottsville Rd., Louisville Rd., and the interstate connector, Corvette Dr.

There are a variety of trees planted as part of Johnson's project and around 60-percent of the original trees planted are still in place.


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