Earth Awareness Month tree planting set

April 10, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Enviropark will be getting a lot greener next week when the county plants 1,400 trees there as part of Earth Awareness Month.

The county commissioners Thursday signed a proclamation marking April as Earth Awareness Month. They will present it later this month to Earth Day founder John McConnell, according to Melodie Anderson-Smith, the director of the Renfrew Institute in Waynesboro.

The park is on about 5 acres along the Falling Spring between Franklin Farm Lane and Interstate 81 in Guilford Township, part of a 200-acre parcel that includes the county's human service agencies, nursing home, prison and other offices.

"We're kind of pecking away at it," Senior Planner Sherri Clayton said of the park project, which was started last year. The biggest change to the site so far has been the demolition of an unused sewage treatment plant.


County Environmental Planner Robert Meredith said the county is also doing an inventory of plants and animals on the land.

Clayton said the park is a low-cost initiative by county staff and volunteers who will plant hundreds of maples, sweet gums, oaks, dogwoods and other varieties of trees on Friday, April 17.

Even the trees were free. Clayton said the seedlings and saplings are from a Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry program for planting forest buffers along streams. Meredith said the new vegetation will help prevent pesticides and fertilizers from nearby farms leaching through the soil to the stream.

"It's going to eventually be an environmental education center," Clayton said. It will include a nature walk with educational signs and observation points for the stream and an artificial wetland that will be built on the site of the old sewage treatment plant.

Later this year, more dogwoods and willows will be planted along the stream to help stabilize the bank, Clayton said. This summer, she said, students in the county's summer youth employment program will be working on the land, getting rid of alanthus, a invasive species of tree that has taken root.

McConnell, 83, of Ridgewood, N.Y., will be the speaker on Sunday, April 19, for the annual Earth Celebration Day at Renfrew Park, according to Anderson-Smith. The first was held on the first day of spring in 1970 in San Francisco.

McConnell is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. and answer questions.

The Earth Celebration Day at the park will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and will include environmental exhibitors, live entertainment and food.

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