Chris Chamberlain, from Pith
's sister blog,
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alerted me to this cool joint venture between Soundforest.org
, the Tennessee Department of Forestry, and Metro Parks to plant a bunch of trees in Bells Bend Park.
Now, it is my usual policy to try to make Bells Bend Park as unappealing as possible so that you yahoos won't crowd it all up when I want to use it. For the moment, though, I am willing to (mostly) set aside my mission to convince you that going to Bells Bend Park will result in getting infested with ticks, attacked by angry, stinging bees, and pelted by vicious squirrels. What I'm about to tell you is a really great thing, and for it to happen, they need volunteers who will go out to the park and plant trees.
Here's the deal: They're trying to plant five acres of hardwood trees along one of the trails and they're looking for volunteer groups to come out in February and plant these saplings. This will be a brand-new hardwood forest.
If any of y'all (or all y'all) want to spend some time in a beautiful park, making a lasting gift to the future, I spoke with David Glasgow, who is helping coordinate the effort. I have details for you after the jump.
Glasgow sent me his press release--
SoundForest.org founder Thomas Solinsky is working with Metro Parks and the Tennessee Dept. of Forestry to plant five acres of hardwood trees at Bells Bend Park and Nature Center. The trees will be a variety of hardwood saplings including a number of trees that will provide food and habitat for birds and the local honeybee population.
Trees planted along this bend in the river will include several kinds of Oak, Tupelo, Tulip
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Poplar, Service Berry and other native species. SoundForest.org is also working with Nashville Greenways to build in a primitive walking path along the river's edge through the newly planted forest to create an inviting environment to learn, exercise and relax.
The ground will have been prepared in January, the trees are small and an experienced forester will supervise, so literally anyone can help plant. Tools, trees and mulch are all provided. Volunteers will focus on quarter-acre plots and an average person can easily plant 5-10 of these little trees in an hour, so 10 people can quickly make a lasting contribution.
Families and individuals are welcome to join us on eight scheduled planting days -- Fridays and Sundays from 1:00-3:00 pm during February.
Businesses or groups of 10 or more volunteers can also set a day and time of their own choosing to help plant during February.
For example, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, USDA Rural Development staff in Nashville will be volunteering staff time for a planting day on Friday, Feb 12. Their goal is for at least 20 employees to plant a half acre of trees that day. They are also planning a picnic out at the site on Earth Day in April when there should be blooms and leaves to see. (Earth Day is too late for a mass planting of saplings in the South).
The benefits to our environment will be felt well beyond the Nature Center for generations to come.
Donations to buy and care for the trees are also welcome. For this project, $50 will buy and help care for up to five trees for their first three years. Those able to adopt a ¼ acre for $1,250 will have their group or business name associated with that stand of hardwoods on the SoundForest.org website and in all publicity and educational materials about the project for at least three years.
Check out SoundForest.org to learn more about the many projects in Nashville and beyond.
To set a date and time for your group to volunteer, donate or for more information about the Bells Bend Forest project, contact email@example.com.
But wait! There's more. I also asked some follow-up questions and learned that the trees will be planted down in the floodplain along the river. Even someone as wimpy as me can probably plant some trees, since they are only a foot or two tall at this point.
I also asked why they deliberately chose bee-friendly trees. Glasgow answered, "Because the bee populations across the country are in such decline a decision was made by Thomas [Solinsky, the founder of Soundforest.org] and others to focus on trees that also improve habitat and provide food sources for the bees. These also happen to be trees that people tend to like a lot as well because they bloom in spring and turn bright colors in the fall, so everyone is happy. Bees will fly up to 20 miles in search of food, but the hive actually loses weight if they are traveling more than 5 miles. So everywhere we put a tree we are now thinking about bee-friendly options."
And let's say that you don't have nine friends who are that excited about planting trees in February or being outside in general in February. You can still volunteer through Hands On Nashville
and sign up to be participate in one of their scheduled plantings, which are happening every Friday and Sunday in February.