On Saturday, students from Millersville teamed up with Franklin and Marshall, Elizabethtown College, and members of the East Lampeter Township community to plant trees along Mill Creek at Flory Park in Lancaster. The event was held by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which plans on building a riparian buffer made up of 1,300 native tree and shrub species. The buffer is part of a stream bank stabilization project that stretches from Flory Park to Lancaster Mennonite School; 250 trees were planted in this area on Saturday and another 100 trees were already in the ground on the opposite side of the stream as of Friday.
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to improving water quality across the Chesapeake Bay Region,” says Kim Patton, who works for the foundation. “We a do lot of restoration both with volunteers and without.” Over 100 people came out to help that morning.
Participants brought their shovels, mallets and gloves, and prepared for a fun experience where they got involved with other members of their community to help the environment. Holes had previously been drilled to ease the work load for the volunteers. At each hole, there was a stake, a long tube and a young tree ready to be planted.
As soon as the tree was in place, the tube would slide over it and be pushed into the ground so that small animals would not try to burrow underneath it. The tube also served as a safe haven and guide for the young tree to grow straight and be free of harmful insects. The stakes were placed to keep them sturdy and faced upstream so that rising floodwater would not push the plastic tubes over.
Finally, a small net, referred to as a “bird’s nest,” was placed over the tube so birds would not get stuck at the bottom in case they fell in. Among all these large tubes, there were shrubs that were also planted that did not need tubes. They were easy to identify, with the white flag wrapped around their thin stems. The event started at 9 a.m. and was expected to end at 1 p.m., but with all the people who came out to help, it only took about two hours to plant about 875 trees.
“It’s great! It’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Matt Kofroth, a Millersville graduate and community member who helped lead the event. “We have a lot of great partners, like the Bay Foundation, the Township and other agencies that definitely helped us complete this.”
After the event, Millersville students Sarah Way and Emily Meideigh talked about how much they enjoyed their experience. “We had a lot of fun! It was a good day to come out. We heard of it through the club and decided to go. We’d definitely do it again”. It was good to see students going out and getting involved, especially during their weekends. Looking over all the hard work accomplished, it was a strange sight to see a colony of tubes standing at the edge of a creek. But give it about twenty or thirty years, and the area will surely be a beautiful place to visit.