Volunteers plant trees
Redd Park site of reforestation effort
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.
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.