75 trees planted in East Lake Park thanks to Ruffner Mountain, Nature Conservancy, and neighbors (8 photos)

Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

“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

Two young men marking the majestic green ash trees that will be impacted by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that are expected to destroy 80-90% of the ash trees. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

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.”

neighbor and supporters of historic East Lake Park planted 75 trees on Saturday morning, November 16, as part of a urban forest restoration program

Restoration Plan

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..

Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

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

Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

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.

Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.