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Greencastle Parks Department completes tree planting grant

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- Because urban and community forests can make a difference in our lives and replenishing the tree cover within the municipal parks system is a high priority for the City of Greencastle, is what led the City of Greencastle Tree Board, Board of Park Commissioners and the Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department to apply for the ALCOA/DNR Community and Urban Forestry Tree Planting Partnership Grant.

Due to a generous grant from the ALCOA Foundation, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources -- Division of Forestry created the community tree planting partnership to assist municipalities and not-for-profit organizations to purchase and plant trees on public property.

Protection and replacement of our natural resources is very important whether it be in a rural forest, within the small town or big city urban setting. The urban forest is a crucial component of our urban natural resources, as it provides shade to our homes and roadways, cleans the air that we breathe and the water that we drink.

Greencastle's ALCOA / DNR Tree Grant Revitalization Project included the removal of six Ash trees in decline and replaced them with 17 new trees of varying species. Although a large portion of the grant took place in Robe-Ann Park, the project included components at Tzouanakis Intermediate School and Forest Hill Cemetery. Fourteen Ash trees were evaluated by the City of Greencastle Department of Public Works Arborist, with the six trees receiving the lowest scores removed. One of the six was removed from Forest Hill Cemetery, while the remaining five were removed from Robe-Ann Park. To help deter the potential spread of the ongoing threat of the Emerald Ash Borer, by removing its potential habitat, Ash trees are in decline.

This project will help increase the tree cover and enhance the environmental health and increase species diversity within the community. Many students and volunteers from the surrounding schools and universities, clubs and organizations visited TZ School, Forest Hill Cemetery and Robe-Ann Park to help with the tree plantings. Trees planted included: Red Maple, Pin Oak, Sycamore, Downy Serviceberry, Black Gum, Schumard Oak, Bald Cypress, Kentucky Coffee-Tree, Swamp White Oak and Blue Spruce. During each planting opportunity, the volunteers were introduced to the project's educational component, which included a discussion on the importance of replacing the tree canopy, the devastating effect the Emerald Ash Borer is having on Ash trees, procedures for combating the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, and the importance of species diversity when planning a community's urban forest plan to help fend off the attack from species-specific insects or diseases. Also included was instruction on preparing the holes and root ball for planting, proper planting, mulching, staking and watering techniques, and overall tree maintenance practices.

The ALCOA/DNR Tree Grant Revitalization Project was supported by the following people and groups: Joanne Haymaker, Tzouanakis Intermediate School Garden Club, Greencastle Kiwanis Club, Greencastle Civic League, Friends of the Park Association of Putnam County, DePauw University's Environmental Club, DePauw University's Bonner Scholar Program, DePauw University's POSSE Foundation, Greencastle Middle School Science Club, Boy Scout of America -- Troop 99 and Cub Scouts Pack 99, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana -- Troop 10059, the family of Robert J. Berry Jr., the Greencastle High School Environmental Club and Environmental Science class, City of Greencastle Common Council, Greencastle Tree Board, Greencastle Board of Park Commissioners, and the Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department

The City of Greencastle is committed to providing outdoor facilities that enhance the community's recreational opportunities and improve the overall quality of life for the citizens of the Greater Greencastle, Putnam County area. Replacing the diseased or dying trees with a wider assortment of trees will be a welcome addition to the municipal forest canopy, and at the same time create a legacy for the youth in the future.

For more information on Greencastle's ALCOA/DNR Tree Revitalization Project, please contact Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk at 653-3395.

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