Tree planting project needs more public participation
Seventy-five thousand new trees in Morgan County in 18 months is nothing to shake a stick at. But Forester Herb Peddicord had hoped Morgan County would be a little bit greener by now.
The tree planting initiative he kicked off in January 2006 had a big goal – for Morgan Countians to plant 250,000 trees by December 2008.
Now halfway through that project, Peddicord said he can pinpoint a few reasons why Morgan County is about 50,000 trees shy of the mark so far. The weather, for one thing. Peddicord said fall is really the big planting season for trees. And the dry weather hasn't been great for new trees that need lots of nurturing and attention.
Another hurdle in the effort to plant a quarter of a million new trees is just keeping count. Peddicord said his Tree Planting Board has to hear from folks who have planted trees in order for the project to succeed.
The public can either call him at 304-258-6205 or log on to the Tree Board website at www.morgancountytrees.com\ to report their new trees.
"A lot of people are forgetting to call, or don't know how to report their new trees," Peddicord said.
So far, most of the newly-planted trees have been pines, Peddicord said. The majority of those pines – 55,000 of them — have been planted by New Page Corporation, a local pulpwood mill. When that company harvests trees, they offer new pine saplings to landowners to reforest the area.
On an individual level, the tree planting initiative has helped remind people how vital trees can be in keeping the earth livable.
"It's made a lot of people aware of the importance of trees, especially in this time as people's awareness of climate change is increasing," said Peddicord.
It can be easy to forget how valuable trees really are. They contribute to the oxygen supply; cool homes, rivers and wildlife; stabilize the soil; provide homes for many creatures and beautify the landscape.
"It's a long shot to get to our goal, honestly," Peddicord admitted.
But his hope is that each Morgan Countian decides to dig a few holes and nourish a handful of new trees whenever they get the chance. And as soon as the tree is watered and the mulch settled into place, Peddicord hopes folks will call and become part of the big tree countdown.