Last weekend, I spent my Saturday helping a group of volunteers plant nearly 4,000 trees on a former mine site near Camp McDowell.  The event was organized by Green Forests Work, which is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reforest surface-mined land throughout Appalachia with native species.  We planted a variety of hardwood trees on several acres of land primarily planted with a monoculture of non-native loblolly pine.










On these old mine sites, the soil is often heavily compacted, which prevents many tree species from naturally taking root.  To prepare the site for planting, they rip through the soil to allow the roots a chance to reach proper depths.








I was personally glad to see longleaf pine seedlings in the bucket, but of special importance were the disease-resistant American Elms and Restoration Chestnuts that were planted that day.  We were told that this was the first planting of these particular strains, which had been bred to resist the diseases that had previously eradicated the original trees from their natural range.



















It was a fun day of work, and the resulting body aches were not just a sign of my advancing age, but a token of a day well spent.  I’d love to visit the site again in a few years to see how our efforts pay off.



















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