Vol­un­teers plant trees

Redd Park site of re­for­esta­tion ef­fort

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­[email protected]­pub.com

Clutch­ing a pint-sized shovel, 3-year-old Will Ferenz spent Sat­ur­day morn­ing help­ing his fa­ther and grand­fa­ther plant trees in Redd Park as part of Ne­wark’s first re­for­esta­tion day.

The seedlings they planted were no taller than Will, but they rep­re­sent the next gen­er­a­tion of growth and even­tu­ally will tower over the for­est for decades to come.

“They’re some­thing for him to see in 10 years,” his dad, Mike, said.

The fam­ily was among nearly 70 vol­un­teers who took part in the re­for­esta­tion event, which is in­tended to be­come an an­nual tra­di­tion. The vol­un­teers planted 350 black gum, tulip po­plar, red maple and hick­ory in an area of the park near the Ne­wark Reser­voir.

The seedlings, all donated by the Na­tional Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion, were planted be­tween the larger trees in the park. The 68-acre wooded park borders the reser­voir and ex­tends north past the Woods at Lou­viers and the Hunt at Lou­viers.

“There’s a lot of big ones, but there’s no un­der­story trees,” ex­plained Bob McDow­ell, a bi­ol­ogy teacher at Ne­wark High School and a mem­ber of the city’s Con­ser­va­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion, which or­ga­nized Sat­ur­day’s event. “We’re re­for­est­ing the un­der­story so the for­est re­gen­er­ates af­ter the big ones die.”

Af­ter plant­ing the trees, the vol­un­teers cov­ered them with tub­ing and a net to pro­tect them from wildlife.

“They’ll put roots out dur­ing the win­ter, so they’re ready to rock and roll in the spring,” McDow­ell said.

An­other of the vol­un­teers, Mary Clare Mat­sumoto, said she par­tic­i­pated be­cause her neigh­bor­hood, Pine Meadow, backs up to Redd Park.

“I think it’s so im­por­tant to have the trees and the for­est,” Mat­sumoto said.

Help­ing her was Ne­wark Char­ter School sopho­more Ro­hith Maraka.

“This is my first time do­ing some­thing like this, but I love it,” Maraka said.

Ne­wark High ju­niors Sierra Turell and Kayla Brad­ham worked to­gether to plant sev­eral trees.

“We like to be out in na­ture and give back to the com­mu­nity,” Brad­ham said.

“We’re big na­ture lovers,” Turell added.

An­other group of NHS ju­niors, Claire Web­ber, Kaylee New­nam and Mariel Hazel­wood, worked to­gether a few yards away.

Web­ber said McDow­ell has been talk­ing to his stu­dents about the re­for­esta­tion project for weeks.

“He’s my fa­vorite teacher and he’s re­ally pas­sion­ate about this, so I had to come out,” she said.

McDow­ell said he hopes to dou­ble the num­ber of vol­un­teers and trees next au­tumn.

“This is con­crete ev­i­dence Ne­wark cares,” he said.

Paula Pri­moth (left), an ex­change stu­dent from Spain, and Mag­gie Leon, a stu­dent at Ne­wark Char­ter, plant trees Sat­ur­day in Redd Park.

Ne­wark High ju­niors Claire Web­ber and Kaylee New­nam pose af­ter plant­ing trees Sat­ur­day at Redd Park.

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Ro­hith Maraka (left) and Mary Clare Mat­sumoto plant trees Sat­ur­day in Redd Park.

A group of nearly 70 vol­un­teers planted 350 trees in Redd Park on Sat­ur­day.

Will Ferenz, 3, plants trees in Redd Park with fa­ther, Mike, and grand­fa­ther, Gary.

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