“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there,” ~ Quote from conservationist Gary Snyder
Literally, “digging in” – neighbors and supporters of historic East Lake Park planted 75 trees on Saturday morning, November 16, as part of a urban forest restoration program championed by The Nature Conservancy, Ruffner Mountain and several other conservation groups.
Destructive Asian Beetle
In about 5 to 10 years 80% to 90% of East Lake Park’s majestic green ash trees are expected to die as a result of the infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer Blight.
According to a Ruffner Mountain news release, this is how the emerald ash borer devastates green ash forests:
“The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an Asian beetle that has become the single most destructive forest insect to ever invade the United States. These tiny, bright green creatures use ash trees to reproduce, and as a result, pose a grave threat to green ash populations. Females lay their eggs beneath flaps of bark or in crevices. When the larvae hatch, they burrow or “bore” their way inward and feed for weeks. There, they create “galleries” which disrupt the tree’s ability to transport moisture and nutrients up and down the trunk causing the entire tree to fall prey to this invasive species.”
To tackle this future problem, 40-50 volunteers planted 75 trees that were grown from seedlings sourced from Ruffner Mountain and grown by the organization at its greenhouse. The new trees will replace the green ash trees..
The tree planting was led by The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, Ruffner Mountain, City of Birmingham Parks and Recreation and Alabama Forestry Commission. Additional groups that support the project are Cawaco RC&D Council, Jefferson County Urban Forestry Group and Soil & Water Conservation.
Leaving a Legacy
Bham Now was on hand to document the tree planting effort, which was knocked out earlier than expected because of the large turnout from the community.
Below is a photo gallery from the memorable day spent at East Lake Park – a day neighbors and friends from all walks of life started “digging in” and leaving a legacy at East Lake Park.