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The Lebanon County Conservation District is looking for volunteers to help plant more than 800 trees in Millcreek Township next month.

“We’re looking for about 20 volunteers for each planting event (on) April 11, April 12, and April 13,” Katie Hollen, watershed specialist for the conservation district, told LebTown in an email. “We are already planning for the fall, so there will be more volunteer opportunities then!”

The trees are provided through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation‘s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, Hollen said.

“Conservation groups like LCCD can become partners in the ‘K10’ partnership,” she explained. Because the Lebanon County group is a newer partner in the program, she added, “these will be our first big plantings!”

“Landowners can request free trees directly through the K10 program, and the program matches them with a local conservation group to help plant the trees,” Hollen said. “Landowners can also reach out directly to LCCD, and we can order them trees through K10.”

The April planting events are on private land, so Hollen said she can’t disclose exact locations for publication. One of the projects is a riparian buffer, to help protect a tributary to Mill Creek, and the other is an upland – or higher elevation – planting that’s focused “on reforestation of an area that had significant die-off and invasive removal,” she said.

The upland project will be split into two days, she noted.

Two additional projects – for which the conservation district doesn’t require volunteers – are being planned for a buffer along Middle Creek and at the Pine Meadows Golf Complex.

“For these upcoming plantings, the landowners were matched with LCCD,” Hollen said. “From there, we can help them determine how many trees to order and what species to plant. We place an order through K10, receive the trees, then help the landowners plant them.”

The trees will be fitted with a shelter to prevent deer damage, Hollen noted. The only cost to the landowner, she said, “is their time and post-planting maintenance.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation provides funding to pay for the trees.

“The program offers a variety of tree and shrub species that are native to PA,” Hollen said. “This spring we’ll be planting about 30 different species, including oaks, willows, shrub dogwoods, and maples, just to name a few.”

The seedlings will be 1 to 3 feet tall, she said.

Hollen said the Lebanon County Conservation District was awarded a mini-grant this spring through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Outreach Program Office, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts. These funds enable conservation districts to work with landowners to prevent pollution in local waterways.

“This funding is what we are using to purchase materials for the volunteer plantings this April, as well as future planting seasons,” she said. “LCCD is already working with landowners for the fall planting season and we are hopeful that our tree-planting program will continue to expand!

“Trees are a valuable resource for our waterways and our communities, so it’s exciting to see the demand for trees in Lebanon County increasing.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering to plant trees or participating in future planting projects can call Hollen at 717-277-5275 ext. 114 or email her at katie.hollen@lccd.org with any questions. To register for an event, visit the conservation district’s Facebook page.

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Tom Knapp

Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.


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