Rising Sun Middle helps green up Veterans Memorial Park
RISING SUN — Tulip poplar, red maple, blueberry, pin oak, winter berry, black gum and sycamore were among the 28 trees and shrubs planted Friday at Veterans Memorial Park.
Members of the National Junior Honor Society and the Green Team at Rising Sun Middle School descended on the town park after school. Working under the guidance of Rupert Rossetti from the Octoraro Watershed Association, the students learned how deep and wide to dig their holes, how to prepare their tree or shrub to go into that hole, and proper planting techniques.
“These are 2-gallon trees,” said Rising Sun Commissioner David Warnick, adding most were as much as 6-feet tall.
He used funds from a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Project Open Space grant to purchase the plants and accompanying materials.
Rossetti said these trees would accomplish three goals of Rising Sun’s stormwater management plan for the park off Wilson Avenue.
“It will slow it down, spread it out and soak it in,” he said, adding this means that stormwater will “reconnect the stream to the floodplain and improve the habitat.”
Those students monitoring the micro-invertebrate population of the creek should already notice an increase in that population, Rossetti noted.
“I just like helping to rebuild the stream bed,” said Jack Henderson.
His digging partner, Jake Eckman, worked to clear a second hole, since the first location was stymied by roots and rocks.
Rebecca Haegel, Annalise Bocklage and Gracie Sprenkle ran into similar problems.
“There were a couple of roots in the way,” Sprenkle said.
“And a little bit of dirt,” Haegel added.
The trees were planted in areas that had been overtaken with weeds and nonnative invasive plants.
“The phragmites are really tough,” Rossetti said, pointing to tall, slender plants that snuff out the beneficial native plants in the park. “We had a patch we got under control.”
The plan is to continue the phragmites attack until these young trees grow and provide shade to the areas along the trail and the creek. From there the local plants should have a better chance to crowd out the invasives.
“And the tulip poplars we planted back there are very good for the nectar producers, while the oaks are incredibly good for caterpillars which the birds feed on,” he said, noting these 28 trees and shrubs together have a job to do. “So we have the ground cover piece, the habitat piece and the water absorption piece.”
With planting completed, some students mulched around the trees while others watered the new arrivals to Veterans Memorial Park. One last task was to scan the entire park and pick up any trash.
Emily Stuart, Cara Keene, Sam Robertshaw and Molly Freel work to get past roots and rocks to plant their tree in Rising Sun Veterans Memorial Park.
Rupert Rossetti from the Octoraro Watershed Association and Rising Sun Commissioner David Warnick explain to students from Rising Sun Middle School how the trees and shrubs they were about to plant Friday afternoon would help Veterans Memorial Park.