By Kelly Bothum
Wilmington, DE (March 20, 2011)- Alex and Anthony Coomes came prepared to help Saturday at the volunteer tree planting at Fox Point State Park in Edgemoor. They brought their own tool box filled with plastic shovels that they used to dig into the ground, flinging clumps of grass and dirt as they worked.
While it was true their parents, Erin and Todd, dug most of the two-foot hole, the boys, 1 1/2 and 3 years old, respectively, were enthusiastic. After their dad placed the tree in the hole, they helped cover the roots with dirt, even patting it down with their shovels.
“They like to dig, and this is a good activity for them,” said Erin Coomes, of Wilmington. “We want them to get used to volunteering and helping out.” The Coomes family was among more than 100 volunteers who turned out under sunny but windy conditions to help plant 140 trees in the park as part of an effort by the Delaware Center for Horticulture. The project is part of a larger campaign to add 20,000 trees to Wilmington’s canopy by 2020.
The group planted 1,500 trees last year, but yesterday’s outing was the first one of the season, said Jen Bruhler, assistant director of urban forestry for the center. Other plantings are scheduled later this spring in Bear, Delaware City and Seaford. “It really benefits the area aesthetically and also with improving air quality and with stormwater management,” Bruhler said. “And since the trees are native, we know they will do well.”
At Fox Point, the tree plantings also help with efforts to reforest and screen the park, said Rob Line, a biologist with the Delaware State Park and part of its environmental stewardship committee. The park was expanded a few years ago as part of a remediation project, and there were plans then to add trees and grasses commonly found in a meadow as a buffer. Fox Point is bounded on the west by Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor railroad tracks and I-495, and is accessed by going through an industrial area. “We were thrilled when [Delaware Center for Horticulture] called and said they wanted to do this,” Line said. “It was a perfect match.”
For Jamillah Hutchinson, the tree planting was a family affair good not only for their health but the environment, too. She came with her mother, Rochelle Johnson, a member of the Delaware Center for Horticulture, her daughter, Jazzyln Johnson, 5, and her 2-year-old goddaughter, Ciani Cherry. “We wanted to get the kids outside,” said Hutchinson, of Wilmington, as she packed the dirt around the tree. “It’s good for them to see what they can do volunteer-wise.”
The News Journal- Delaware volunteers help plant 140 trees
Delaware Center for Horticulture