2014-01-24 / Home & Garden

Columbia Green is counting on you to...

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano

Dig a hole, plant a tree, and be counted.

Since the 25th anniversary of Columbia Green in 2009, the nonprofit organization made a commitment to plant 10,000 trees in the metropolitan area in five years. With the help of municipalities, businesses, neighborhood associations, garden clubs, public gardens, schools, churches, and citizens like you, the goal can be met by the target date of December 2014.

Register the number of trees you’ve planted since 2009 at the Columbia Green website and view the Tree- ometer which records progress. www.columbiagreen.org/

During Arbor Day 2013 Columbia Green collaborated on three tree planting projects around town. Memorial Park received a tree grant to replace aged and diseased hackberry trees with longlived canopy trees on the seven- acre city park at Hampton and Gadsden Streets honoring veterans in all the armed forces.

In partnership with Friends of Sesqui, Columbia Green members planted 70 longleaf pine at the state park as an investment in the future of the beautiful park. Longleaf pine forests once covered 90 million acres in the southeastern US. Today, less than four million acres remain. Longleaf pine ecosystems are home to 100 bird species, 36 mammal species, and 170 species of reptiles and amphibians. This pine is the preferred habitat of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Columbia Green helped plant little gem magnolias on Hilton Field in Fort Jackson to honor war dead and welcome military families to graduation ceremonies. Columbia Green helped plant little gem magnolias on Hilton Field in Fort Jackson to honor war dead and welcome military families to graduation ceremonies. With a grant from the Richland County Conservation Department, Columbia Green is leading a tree planting project at Fort Jackson. In December 2013, twentysix six-foot tall little gem magnolias were planted at Hilton Field. Each tree represents a South Carolina combat fatality from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The trees will welcome 300,000 graduation visitors to the field yearly. Additionally, two live oaks were planted as the first step in building a Walk of Honor for soldiers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. James. D. Olsen, with Fort Jackson’s Plans, Analysis and Integration Office said, “ This is a pro- military community. This was an effort to allow the community to help and honor the soldiers.”

Columbia Green offers Tree Initiative Grants to organizations whose members plant canopy trees and shade trees. Grant guidelines and applications are on its website.

Trees are our upright companions from cradle to the grave. They not only supply life support services but also soul food for our species. Right now while trees remain dormant is the best time to plant them. Directions for planting appear on the Columbia Green website and at the Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center website.

Columbia Green is counting on you as a citizen scientist to count and register your newly planted trees in the 10,000 tree program.

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