A tiny forest is planted in Berkeley Springs

by Trish Rudder

It was a rainy Arbor Day celebration on Saturday, April 27 in the Town of Bath with about 30 volunteers planting the first Tiny Urban Forest in West Virginia at the Berkeley Springs Depot.

The tiny forest was dedicated to the late Gale Foulds, who passed away in March, in recognition of the impact she made on our community, Bath Councilwoman Rebecca MacLeod said.

“She left us too soon; we will plant trees to remember Gale,” she said.

“Gale loved this community. We need more involvement in this community,” said Gareth Foulds, Gale’s husband.

Sponsored by the Town of Bath Tree Board and the Warm Springs Watershed Association, 125 native trees and shrubs designated for the lot were planted on the east side of the depot. More will be planted on the stormwater control feature, MacLeod said.

The design and coordination was done by Greg Sherbert of Forest Shepherd Farm LLC.

Volunteers wore hats and rain gear – even a plastic trash bag – to keep dry from the steady rain.

Even Eric Butts, 14, of Morgan County Boy Scouts Troop 81, helped plant trees to earn the next Scout level he is working on, he said.

Inside the Depot building before the plantings began, Bath Mayor Scott Merki read the Arbor Day Proclamation that declared “trees – wherever they are planted – are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”

A tiny forest was planted on the east side of the Berkeley Springs Depot lot by volunteers on Saturday, April 27 in celebration of Arbor Day in the Town of Bath.
photo by Trish Rudder

Warm Springs Watershed Association president and Bath Tree Board member, Kate Lehman spoke of the value of trees that help to create atmosphere. Trees capture rain and absorb rain and planting trees makes it better for everyone.

MacLeod, who also co-chairs the town Streetscape Committee, said the former rail yard lot is being restored to a healthy condition.

“This first tiny forest in West Virginia is to naturally revitalize the soil,” MacLeod said, and the plantings will help continue the remediation of the area.

She said not only is this public space for visitors, “it is a public space for the people who live here.”

Sam Adams of the West Virginia Division of Forestry brought the new Tree City USA banner to the celebration.

Former Bath Councilman Andy Swaim, who chaired the Tree Board committee for many years, noted the Town of Bath has been a consecutive member of Tree City USA for 17 years, which is “pretty cool,” Merki said.

MacLeod said later that “we will need to provide care for the young seedlings this year, but by their third year, the plants will be self-sustaining.”

Custom designed cardinal red tee-shirts were given to the volunteers for their help.