Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Land - Part 4 - Plant Trees for Nature

Plant trees he said.

So I did.

 Order seedlings from the DNR at $25 for 100 trees. 
Order in October. 
Trees delivered in March.

So one day in March a package arrived - only about as big as my 4 year old - with 100 seedlings.
I took them out to the land in a puzzle.

I hadn't used a shovel since I was a kid on the beach.
I didn't know where to start.

But I stuck the shovel down against the heavy clay and stepped on the rim.
Out came my first shovel-full.
Not so bad.

I dug several holes and settled the little trees into the soil.

I most remember sitting on the dirt next to a newly planted seedling - pressing warm dirt around the roots.
Feeling the warm sun, the smell of the fresh soil and the sound of the birds.
It was a new experience...
and one I wanted to share.

The next 14 years there were many trees planted on The Land - over 1400.
But not all by me.

Every spring we would invite school groups to take a field trip to our land to plant trees.

I would give them very specific instructions - roots down, branches up.

And with little more than that, these kids went at it.

It was wonderful watching these kids revel in the freedom of digging holes. Their neat lawns at home couldn't risk this activity. But at our land they could dig with relish.

How far apart? An arm's length.

A gardener knows how difficult it is to make a planting look natural. Well, you can't get more random than twenty 2nd graders.

Plant, water, mulch.

Can we plant another one?

Go for it!

And we always ended with popsicles.

Some of those first trees now are over 20 feet tall.
The kids have grown. Many are working now or off to college.

And many of these kids drive by now and say with pride - there's the tree I planted at The Land.

A wonderful legacy.

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