Volunteers plant native trees along Shades Creek Greenway

Volunteers plant native trees along Shades Creek Greenway
Robert Plummer, left, and Jimmie Ross, both volunteers from Pelham, spread mulch around a native tree seedling along Shades Creek. (Jesse Chambers / Homewood Star)

About 80 volunteers tried to make Homewood a little bit greener by taking part in the annual planting of native tree seedlings along the Shades Creek Greenway on Saturday, Nov. 4.

The event was organized by the Homewood Environmental Commission and Samford University, which are in the third year of their five-year partnership to conduct the plantings, and is also part of the HEC’s ongoing “Green Skies Over Homewood” initiative.

It’s gratifying for organizers to see the progress along the greenway since the program started in 2014, said HEC Chair Amy Milam.

”I love coming back to the greenway each year and seeing how the seedlings have grown,” she said. “We can see the impact every time we come back out here.”

The planting Saturday, which took advantage of sunny, unseasonably warm weather, drew many volunteers from students, staff and faculty of Samford University, which is just across Lakeshore Drive, as well as the Homewood High School Environmental Club.

There were also about 30 Homewood residents, as well as volunteers from Homewood Scout Troops 95 and 386, Milam said.

This year, volunteers planted 225 tree seedlings along the greenway and an additional 60 trees in the Beeson Woods on the front of the Samford campus near Lakeshore.

Some of the trees in Beeson Woods had been stressed by drought and killed by a fungus after heavy rains, according to Henry Hughes of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, who collects the native seedlings that are planted along the Greenway.

October and November is “the prime time” to plant trees, because strong root growth over the fall and winter makes for healthier trees, Hughes said.

“You get good establishment, and the trees will take any drought that comes at them,” he said.

HEC also keeps an additional 100 trees for planting during the year by Homewood residents for a $5 to $10 donation per plant.

Homewood Parks & Recreation and Alabama Power provide a lot of support to the project, Milam said.

They help clear invasive species, including privet hedge and mimosa, haul away debris, donate some materials and do site preparation.

She said Park & Recreation also helps tend to the trees after planting and plants native trees at other locations during the year.

To learn more about the Green Skies program, go to the HEC Facebook page.

This story originally appeared in the Homewood Star.

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