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Volunteers Green the Lower Susquehanna This Fall

Posted: November 17, 2017

From Lititz to Hershey, Greening the Lower Susquehanna volunteers planted hundreds of trees this fall to help improve water quality in priority watersheds in the Lower Susquehanna region.
Tree planting in the Lower Susquehanna

Tree planting in the Lower Susquehanna

2017 marked another great year for he Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center’s Greening the Lower Susquehanna Volunteer Corps. Volunteers have been restoring riparian buffers, live staking stream banks, and planting and maintaining rain gardens for over 5 years now as part of this program. In 2017, over 500 volunteers donated almost 1,500 hours of time in Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster Counties, including at several events this fall.

On a perfect autumn Saturday in October, a riparian buffer was planted in the headwaters of the Chiques Creek. Almost 20 volunteers helped plant over 100 trees in the pasture of Wayne and Marian Martenas to prevent erosion and absorb floodwaters. This event is the Feature Spotlight story in this edition of the AEC newsletter.

Two days later, the Elizabethtown Rotary Club, Mount Joy Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Eastern York County and Rotary Club of Lancaster Hempfield came together to fund and plant 175 trees along the banks of the Conewago Creek. With only a few short hours of daylight available for this evening planting, the volunteers worked fast and efficiently to get the trees in the ground, tubed, and staked. Rotary showed that they know how to work as a team. This planting wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Tri-County Conewago Creek Association (TCCCA), the local watershed group, which is leading the effort to maintain over 60 acres of forest riparian buffers in the Conewago watershed. The job was finished with daylight to spare, bringing the clubs one step closer to completing Rotary International President Ian Riseley’s challenge to plant a tree for each of its members.

Unseasonably warm weather also accompanied another volunteer event in Hershey, along the Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail. Over 100 volunteers tackled the day’s task of planting 48 trees. Unlike most of our plantings, these trees were over 10 feet tall with large root systems. The holes for the trees were pre-drilled by Derry Township but there was plenty of work to do removing the wire and burlap from the root balls, filling in the large holes with dirt, removing sod, mulching, and making sure these trees were planted straight. The Derry Environmental Action Committee made great team leaders, ensuring each tree was planted correctly and with care. Volunteers received instant feedback on their work by the many users of the trail complementing the attractive additions to the landscape.

The Greening the Lower Susquehanna volunteers wrapped up the fall season on Saturday, November 11 in the City of Lancaster. Several dozen people volunteered their time to plant trees and a meadow along the Conestoga River.

“Like” Penn State Extension-Greening the Lower Susquehanna on Facebook to see the results of this season and all our other events. And, if you are interested in joining our growing group of volunteers, sign up at . The corps will be back at it in the spring!