Bringing Trees Home

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
For over 15 years, through support from the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the PA Urban and Community Forestry Council (PAUCFC) has been awarding tree planting grants to communities across the state.  The reach of the program is expanding as evident of more and more first-time applicants, such as the Waynesburg Borough who received a 2017 TreeVitalize grant. Waynesburg Borough, located in the very southwestern corner of Pennsylvania is just 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA. Waynesburg is not an “urban” area and therefore they questioned their qualification for this type of grant so we continue to stress the term community forestry.

Waynesburg received a small grant to plant 13 trees in the Waynesburg Parks. The parks are four consecutive tracts of land, 2 blocks from Main Street and a gathering place for nearby residents and students from Waynesburg University. The planting took place on Friday, April 28, 2017 in celebration of Arbor Day. Staff from PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry, PA Urban and Community Forestry Council (PAUCFC) and two middle school science classes helped to plant the trees.

Tree holes were dug ahead of time and the right tree was placed next to each hole. Equipment was laid out for the students upon their arrival. Maps were printed to show where all the trees were to be planted. People were split into groups of 4 to 5 including a leader to demonstrate correct practices. There were too many students and not enough trees therefore a few students stood ideal while others shoveled or raked. At the end everyone reconvened to discuss the day.

What makes this tree planting unique is the connectedness between the place and those that planted the trees. Two of the Pa DCNR staff members that helped plant the trees are from Waynesburg. Additionally, the science teacher of the junior high science classes that volunteered that day was the same science teacher of the DCNR staff from over 20 years ago. In a small town, such connections are not uncommon but it certainly made the day feel more meaningful. The staff shared their memories of growing up in Waynesburg and of playing in the parks where the trees were planted. They spoke of how the students’ efforts of that day will be able to be seen years from now, and the impacts those trees will have on future generations.

For more information, please contact:
Shea Zwerver
Community Engagement Coordinator 
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Forestry | Rural & Community Forestry Section
400 Market St. | Harrisburg, PA 17105
Phone: 717.346.9583 | Fax: 717.783.5109 |