On Saturday, April 18, the Delaware County Master Gardeners will be giving out 1,000 tree seedlings to anyone who wants them at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The distribution will take place at the Junior Fair Pig and Lamb building from 10 to 11:45 a.m.
Ralph Jordan, a member of the Delaware County Master Gardeners, said the idea for the event came from Master Gardner Dub Hearon who saw several news reports about climate change and how trees can be used to combat its effects.
“Trees help combat global warming,” Jordan said. “They can be used for beautification, soil control and other things. This is available to anybody. We’re giving a free tree to basically anyone who wants to plant one.”
Jordan said other tree planting programs in the past have featured an education component, but because of the COVID-19 outbreak, they won’t be able to offer any sort of education during the event.
“We realize this is a rough time in terms of having an educational program, so we’ll be handing out a certificate with instructions on how to plant them, where to plant them, and how to take care of them,” Jordan said.
He added in order to keep people safe, parties can pull up and have their packaged seedlings loaded into their car.
“We’ll have pretty much a drive-thru,” Jordan said. “We’ll hand them the trees and certificate, and make it easy for them.”
The seedlings, he added, are southern pine and sugar maple trees. For this particular event, individuals can get five free trees, while groups can get more depending on the size of the group. Jordan said both trees are well suited to the area and have many benefits.
“Pine trees are good for wildlife, birds, and things like that,” he said. “They are nice trees native to this area. Sugar maples are a nice shade tree, ornamental, and you can get maple syrup from them. Those are the ones that are well adapted to this area and are useful trees.”
Jordan said interested parties should call him at 740-549-3025 or Hearon at 740-909-3074 to reserve their trees. As of Thursday, Jordan said, about three-quarters of the trees have been spoken for.
“We’d like to know (people) are coming so we can make sure we’re ready for them,” Jordan said.
He added the trees were ordered from the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District, who he credited as a valuable partner in the event.
Jordan said he wants people to leave the event with an appreciation for trees and the role they play in the ecosystem.
“I hope they realize the value of planting a tree, the fact that they do help climate control. They help for beautification. They provide shade, natural habitats for birds and animals, and they are just a valuable thing to have,” Jordan said. “We need to keep the vegetation, plants, and trees growing to keep us in fresh air.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.