The PA Environmental Council organized a tree planting event at Weiser State Forest in Columbia County April 30 that resulted in more than a dozen volunteers planting 4,000 trees to help improve water quality and restore forest habitat.
The volunteers, along with PEC staff and DCNR Forest District staff, spent the day planting seedlings such as sumac, scrub oak, pitch pine, and aspens to restore a forest on a four-acre mine land site affecting tributaries of the Shamokin Creek.
Pennsylvania has more miles of streams affected by mine land drainage than any other state, with more than 15,000 degraded acres needing to be reforested.
A forester from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement demonstrated how to plant the trees, and by the end of the day 1,500 seedlings were in the ground. An additional 2,500 seedlings will be planted by weeks end, completing the four-acre planting.
“It was really a fulfilling day,” said PEC Executive Vice President Patrick Starr. “Not only did we plant trees together, we enjoyed working together to solve one of Pennsylvania’s most intractable pollution problems. I was so gratified that more than a dozen volunteers pitched in for the cause – even our bus driver decided to plant trees!”
Volunteers, including members of the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance and citizens from Columbia, Northumberland, and Berks Counties gathered at the Weiser State Forest District Office at 8:30 a.m. before shuttling a few miles through the forest to the tree-planting site.
Saturday’s planting was a first for PEC as a partner in the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and Green Forests Work.
This planting and others in the coming months are funded by the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook. Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.