The Elkins Tree Board is kicking off a campaign to bring more trees into the community. The goal of the 75 New Trees for Elkins program is to plant 75 new trees to coincide with the Mountain State Forest Festival.
"The overall goal is to restore the urban tree canopy," tree board member Erika Stokes said. "I think to get something going we needed a focus. Since it is the 75th Mountain State Forest Festival, we decided on 75 trees."
According to Stokes, Elkins became a Tree City USA in 2009, and part of the qualifying process was to complete a tree inventory. The inventory found that more than a third of the trees in Elkins are in poor condition.
"When these towns were first built, they were built under the trees," Stokes said. "Many of the trees were plated a long time ago and they are at the end of their life span."
The tree board has been working to fund the replacement of many of the trees downtown. The tree board is collaborating with the Elkins Friends of Trees, the Davis & Elkins College Center for Sustainable Studies and the MSFF to achieve the goal of planting the new trees.
According to Stokes, Terra Flora planted six new Trident Maple trees in front of city hall and on Fourth Street which was financed in part by a West Virginia Cool Communities Grant. Yhe Center for Sustainable Studies also planted 31 heritage apple trees at the Kump House.
Benefits of planting trees
The West Virginia Divsion of Forestry Urban and Commnunty Forestry provides a phamlet "Choosing & Planting Trees for Cities and Communites," that provides the benefits of planting trees and unsuitable planting locations.
Benefits of planting include:
n Providing cooling shade during summer months and screening from winter winds.
n Trees add softness to urban landscapes.
n Reducing air and noise pollution.
n Conserving water amd reducing soil erosion.
n Creating wildlife and plant diversity.
Unsuitable planting sites for trees include:
n The presence of overhead utility lines, exept when planting small trees.
n Locations with highly compacted soil.
n Sites with high exposure to vehilce exhaust.
n Places with underground utility lines or pipes.
n Within 40 degress of an intersection, road sign or traffic signal.
n Within 20 feet if a building foundation.
n Sites in close proximity to entry ways.
"We are asking businesses, organizations and individuals to plant or pledge to plant one or more trees by the MSFF," Stokes said. "Trees will be planted at the new community garden and several business have already indicated interest in planting trees. We are almost halfway to our goal but need more participation."
She said before people plant a tree they should ensure they are planting the "right tree for the right place." The Tree Board has information available about the best trees for urban environments and local nurseries can also provide the proper guidance.
"Even if it is planted on their own property we hope they seek advice from us or a nursery," Stokes said. "We want to concentrate on planting and anyone in Elkins can plant."
Stokes said trees that are planted as part of the campaign will have orange bows tied to them during the MSFF. To contact the Elkins Tree Board call Elkins City Hall at 304-636-1414 ext. 1110 to leave a message for the board or email firstname.lastname@example.org