Ris­ing Sun Mid­dle helps green up Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Park

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

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.

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