100 saplings planted at Killens Pond State Park
FELTON, Del. – Delaware continues efforts outlined in its Climate Action Plan. The focus has largely been on reducing carbon emissions and moving toward electric vehicles and renewable energy.
Small Saplings, Big Impact
While those are big tasks, First State leaders say smaller steps that individuals take can also make a big impact on the environment. Monday afternoon, Governor John Carney, DNREC officials, and volunteers got to work planting 100 saplings at Killens Pond State Park. The saplings represented the diverse plant species found in Delaware, including oak, beech, dogwood, and shrubs.
Space for the trees was made possible by the purchase of 52 acres of land. The land was purchased through Delaware’s Open Space program. Over the next several months, about 300 trees will stretch their roots into the ground there. “This added to what already existed at Killens Pond State Park. It’s almost up to 1,500 acres of land that’s protected as park land in the state of Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin.
Delaware State Parks tells 47 ABC that the saplings planted Monday will really start to flourish over the next three to five years. In turn, those trees will become homes for various animal and insect species. For example, White Oaks are host plants for 464 butterfly and moth species.
“What can I do?”
The tree planting was all part of Delaware’s Tree For Every Delawarean Initiative. The goal is exactly as the title of the initiative says: plant one tree for every Delawarean. So far, 75,000 trees have been planted in the First State. “The more people I talk to – all the way across the state from the northern boundary with Pennsylvania, to the Maryland boundary in Sussex County – people are concerned about climate change,” said Gov. Carney.
Gov. Carney says that concern has turned into a drive to make a difference. “I think what I hear most is, ‘What can I do?’ Some people can’t afford a solar array on top of their house, or whatever it takes to be more efficient in their home,” he said. “[The trees are] a win-win win. It helps with carbon reduction in the atmosphere, it helps with cooling down neighborhoods, and it makes Delaware a prettier state.”
The Next Generation
Many of the boots driving shovels into the ground, and hands nestling trees into the dirt, were those of Capital School District’s STRIVE Program. Educator April Bracy says STRIVE serves students with severe and multiple disabilities aged 18 to 21. Those students learn valuable, hands on lessons about job skills and community stewardship. “It gives them a sense of belonging to the community; that they’re out here and they’re able to do what their nondisabled peers are out here doing,” said Bracy.
Bracy says Monday’s tree planting was no exception. “We have students who are learning to work outdoors. So, when we asked the students who wanted to come, they all were super excited to get out here,” she said. “It’s very important to also include that community service aspect, and let them know it’s not all about what is given to you, but what you can also give back.”