Success Rooted in 10 Million New Trees
Down the slope from the high school, ninth-grade science students trudged through Gettysburg mud in mid-April, put their hands into the earth, and learn outside about the value of planting trees to protect Rock Creek.
In Luzerne County, conservation district workers, volunteers, sportsman’s club members, watershed stewards, and Trout Unlimited dug-in to add 2,000 trees and shrubs not far from the south branch of Bowmans Creek.
Isaac Nulton, Garrett Beal, and fellow FFA (a youth organization based on agricultural education) students from West Perry High School slogged through a soggy Arbor Day morning working with the Perry County Conservation District and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, adding trees, tubes, and stakes to Shaeffer Drum Memorial Park in Elliottsburg.
A team from the Your Quality Solutions company included their children and grandchildren in the planting of 400 trees on the Drager Farm in Marietta, Lancaster County. The trees in the buffer will also provide shade for the grass-fed cows that live there.
These plantings are a sampling of widespread success during the second spring season of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF. The partnership intends to plant 10 million trees by the end of 2025 and by the end of 2019 it will have added another 80,000 new trees to Penn’s Woods. That is more than double last year’s result.
Trees are among the most cost-effective tools for cleaning and protecting waterways by filtering and absorbing polluted runoff, stabilizing streambanks, and improving soil quality. They also help clean the air, beautify communities, reduce greenhouse gases, and provide habitat for wildlife.
For these reasons, the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Blueprint calls for about 95,000 acres of forested buffers to be planted in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by the end of 2025.
Adding 10 million new trees alongside streams, streets, and other priority landscapes would greatly help Pennsylvania meet its clean-water commitments, achieving as much as two-thirds of the 95,000-acre goal.
Tree plantings from Luzerne to Lancaster County, Gettysburg to Elliottsburg, are examples of the Blueprint at work in Pennsylvania. As the Commonwealth updates its Blueprint, also known as the draft Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership is being included in the plan as one of the solutions.
As Pennsylvania works to overcome gaps in funding and pollution reduction, local clean-water success will continue to have roots in more partners and more plantings.
Pennsylvania Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation