The WVU Extension Service of Ohio County and Wheeling’s Parks and Recreation Department invite the public to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day by planting over 100 trees throughout the City of Wheeling.
This event is a way to look toward the future and create a lasting impact on our communities, while protecting one another during the present health crisis. Although city parks are still closed, and groups are limited to five or less, families are invited to plant a tree at one of the city’s parks or trails.
Participants must sign up in advance to adopt a tree and commit to planting it and caring for it over the next year. Tree adoption signup forms are online, or you can call the extension office at 304-234-3673 (leave a message). Signup opens on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, and will close at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26. The adoption forms will help match participants with the parks closest to them.
Trees will be distributed from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, in the parking lot of the Ohio County Public Library, 16th and Eoff streets, Wheeling. There are no delivery options. Instructions for planting will be provided, and a tree planting hotline will be monitored to answer questions for the rest of the week at 740-545-6588.
An aerial photograph will be used to help find the pre-marked planting site (all of them well over 10 feet apart). Each participant will get a tag — to mark their tree as a family identifier or to honor someone — which will stay with the tree until the protective cover is removed in about three years. Participants are asked to plant as soon as possible and record their experience through pictures using the #WheelingTrees2020.
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One hundred and forty trees were provided through the Mountaineer Treeways grant from the West Virginia Division of Forestry. Parks and rail trail areas were chosen for this project based on need for erosion control or lack of tree cover. An urban forest program called iTree helped to calculate the areas where the greatest impact could be achieved. Each site was then evaluated to meet the specific needs of each tree. Planting sites cannot be changed.
Unfortunately, not all parks or even all neighborhoods could be included this year. However, if this adoption program is successful, the hope is to make it an annual event to increase the number and variety of trees in Wheeling and maintain their many services well into the future.
Because the coronavirus is still very much a threat, families are asked to not play on the equipment or to linger in the parks while they are planting their tree. Take measures to distance yourselves from other participating families should you arrive at the same park at the same time. Families living with someone who is elderly or immunocompromised are requested to not participate this year because of the increased health risk. Do not participate if you feel at all uncomfortable doing so and remember to take all steps to protect yourself and your family by washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask and maintaining a 6-foot distance when out of your home.
For more information about this project, call the extension office at 304-234-3673 or email send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.