How do you plant 3,000 trees in one day? You don’t stop!

Tree plantings are an important part of Bay restoration work and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay wanted to take tree planting events to the next level by hosting a 24-hour volunteer tree planting relay event known as the “Treelay.” From the evening of October 28 to October 29, the Alliance hosted eight back-to-back, four-hour volunteer tree plantings, elevating your average weekend tree planting to a cross-state relay.

Out of the eight Treelay plantings, six took place in Pennsylvania, where the Alliance is helping the commonwealth meet ambitious tree planting goals to reduce runoff to the Bay. The kickoff planting took place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where over 400 trees were planted on a property along Pequea Creek from 6 to 10 p.m. At that hour, volunteers started putting trees in the ground at a site in York County, until 2 a.m., when the next planting started in Lancaster County. Alliance staff and volunteers used flashlights and car headlights to safely guide their twilight plantings.

The following morning, two more tree plantings were held in Cumberland County and Adams County, Pennsylvania. In Cumberland, 50 volunteers planted over 500 trees to transform unused lawn at a wastewater treatment plant to a riparian forest buffer.

At the same time, plantings also took place downstream at a site in Maryland and Washington, D.C. At the D.C. Treelay, 10 volunteers planted 10 trees in a small green space in a housing complex. In Maryland, the Alliance organized nearly 20 volunteers to plant 280 trees on an old golf course in Westminster that is being turned back into forest.

Once the 24 hours was up, a total of 170 volunteers planted 3,000 trees in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Tree canopy is essential to a healthy Chesapeake Bay watershed. Trees provide habitat for wildlife, protect clean air, combat urban heat islands, capture rainwater, trap polluted runoff and stabilize soils which prevents sediment pollution. But in the past half century, deforestation and development have greatly reduced the number of trees across the watershed. Even today, an estimated 70 acres of forest in the region are lost every day.

The Alliance has variety of programs that get trees planted in on private properties, urban areas and farmland, where stream-side trees are often greatly needed. In the case of their Riparian Buffer Program, the Alliance covers 100% of the costs of trees, installation supplies and three years of post-planting maintenance for forest buffers on private land.

Thanks to events like the Treelay, community members can support this work, too. As the event’s 3,000 trees grow, volunteers can know that their assistance on one day will have an impact for years.



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