Dayton — Thousands of trees were damaged or destroyed during the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado Outbreak. Now, nearly a year and a half later, Five Rivers MetroParks is stepping up to bring the greenery back to these damaged areas.
On Saturday, Sept. 19 from 8 a.m. to noon, Five Rivers MetroParks will give away thousands of native tree seedlings to property owners and communities that were hit the hardest. This giveaway is part of the MetroParks' reforestation initiative, Healing Nature.
“Five Rivers MetroParks has a specific long-term role to play in efforts to recover from the tornadoes, which is restoring lost habitat,” said Becky Benná, Five Rivers MetroParks' executive director. “An untold number of trees, shrubs, and other plants critical to our region’s wildlife and natural heritage were lost during the storms. It’s important we replant in the areas where so many were lost to tornado damage.”
According to Five Rivers MetroParks, Community members can pick up the free tree seedlings in the parking lot at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 East Siebenthaler Avenue. Seedlings will be distributed in a drive thru-style pick up designed so community members can remain in their vehicles at a safe social distance.
This tree seedling giveaway was originally planned for this past April, but COVID-19 delayed their efforts.
“Trees not only provide habitat for wildlife and places of respite for humans,” Benná said. “Trees improve air quality, mitigate stormwater, provide shade and enhance aesthetic beauty, and increase property values. It’s important we heal the nature that heals our community.”
Trees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and community members can select up to three seedlings from a selection of 21 native trees.
“We ask that those who own, manage or maintain the property or natural areas damaged by the tornadoes receive first priority,” said the Five Rivers MetroParks.
Some of the species of trees available include the following:
- Black Gum Note – there are no more seedling of this variety
- Buckeye – Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
- Butternut Walnut Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
- Fragrant Sumac – Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
- Hickory Bitternut Hickory Mockernut Hickory Pignut Hickory Shellbark Hickory Shagbark Hickory
- Kentucky Coffee Tree – Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
- Oak Black Oak: Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety Bur Oak Red Oak Shumard Oak White Oak
- Persimmon Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
- Redbud Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
- Tulip Tree Note – there are no more seedlings of this variety
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