Tree planting event works to replace trees lost in storms, add to Wilmington’s Tree Initiative

Tree planting event works to replace trees lost in storms, add to Wilmington’s Tree Initiative
Volunteers planted trees along 4th St in downtown Wilmington Saturday. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Dozens of volunteers broke out the shovels and threw on gloves to plant over 60 trees Saturday morning.

As part of the Wilmington Tree Initiative, the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees (ACFT) and their volunteers, along with the Plastic Ocean Project, planted 64 trees along the southside of downtown Wilmington; public places along 3rd through 7th Streets. The event was funded by the Women’s Impact Network (WIN) and North Carolina Wildlife Federation.

“Trees are so valuable,” said Connie Parker, President of ACFT. “So valuable, they don’t even realize.” Parker says there are many reasons it’s important to have trees around.

“They absorb water,” said Parker. “We have a lot of flood issues in town, as people know. They actually take carbon out of the air so all of the traffic going up and down the streets is filtered through the tree leaves. They actually provide wind breaks to keep your house protected from wind in the wintertime and provide shade to cut your air conditioning bill in the summertime.” Parker says there are study that show people are healthier when they have trees around.

Part of this planting is to help replenish some of the trees lost in Hurricane Florence. “It is a long process to recover,” said Parker. “It takes years [to replenish] all the trees that we lost.”

The trees planted Saturday were on public property, but Parker encourages landowners to protect their trees or even plant new ones. She says it’s important to educate yourself first, though.

“Selecting the right tree and planting that tree in the right place,” said Parker. “Know how big it’s going to get, how much water it takes. Make sure that it’s native so that you know it will do well here.”

Oak, Dogwoods, Maple, and several others were planted.

Parker says you don’t need a green thumb to help plant the trees. Group leaders help plant the trees with each volunteer group, which has been broken into smaller groups than events past due to the pandemic.

Saturday’s planting was the first of four in this part of Wilmington. ACFT is hosting the next event on Nov. 21. Click here to sign-up to volunteer. ACFT can provide equipment (vest, gloves, shovel) if needed.

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