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Community invited to participate in Reforestation Event

PALESTINE, March 15, 2013-- In an ongoing effort to protect and nurture Davey Dogwood Park and the tradition of the Dogwood Trails Celebration, Anderson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joey Hill started a special planting project in partnership with the Palestine Economic Development Corporation (PEDC).

On Saturday, March 16, the community and Dogwood Trails Celebration visitors are invited to come out to Davey Dogwood Park from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., and be a part of the reforestation efforts. Specified planting locations were selected and marked with orange flags. Once participants select a place to plant a tree, they will receive GPS coordinates so they can locate their tree and check its progress year after year. Those who participate in the tree planting on Saturday, will be entered to win a diamond giveaway at the end of the day in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Dogwood Trails.

Davey Dogwood Park is a valuable and unique part of the Palestine and Anderson County community. Discussions on how to help the park have occurred over the years, but these discussions reached a peak last year due to the drought in 2011, and the fungus attacks in 2010, which damaged many trees inside the park.

“We knew that extensive planting would need to occur to reforest the parts of the park affected,” said Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston. “We had already begun the process with seedling planting each year. Commissioner Hill and his crew planted a couple hundred last year and planned to do 1000 each year.”

Judge Johnston continues, “Our focus is on the long-term, and while the seedlings are a good base for reforestation, we realized early on we needed larger trees that produce blooms faster. PEDC matched a one-for-one agreement on purchasing the mature trees we needed.”

The three hundred trees were planted along the 2.1 mile main road way in Davey Dogwood Park. Each grouping of trees consists of two or three trees in a pod, with a location chose for optimal growth. Planting was done by county crew over a five day period in mid-February. The crew was assisted on the first day by the Anderson County Master Gardeners.

The local dogwood genus, Cornus Florida, is a temperamental tree not sold by many nurseries in large quantities. Lowes Home Improvement in Palestine, Texas was able to provide the 300 trees needed for this project from their national wholesaler. Dogwoods require special planting procedures and can only be planted at certain times of the year.

By sourcing locally made Soil Therapy%EF%83%94 compost and mulch from the Angelina & Neches River Authority compost facility, organizers hope to increase the odds for tree survival.

Other local community groups heard about the planting and donated volunteer time and money to join the effort. The Palestine Lions Club planted 15 trees along Spring St., directly across from the Visitor Center, board members with the Texas State Railroad Authority planted trees at the Palestine Depot and members from the Palestine Junior Service League planted six trees at Reagan Park.

These partnerships were coordinated by the Palestine Visitor Center and Main Street Manager, Laura Westgate. “I have worked on this project since last Dogwood Trails and hit so many bumps, but it came together quickly when the right players were involved!” said Westgate. “I am so grateful for the support of everyone who has made it work. Without them we would not have accomplished a three hundred tree replanting project in such a short time! Our project is a true community project.”

Individuals and organization contributing to the replanting effort:

  • Joey Hill, Commissioner Precinct 4
  • Victor Edge, Precinct 4 Crew Leader
  • Billy Miller, Precinct 4 Dogwood Trails crew
  • Jeremy Dearman, Store Manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • Tammy Chershire, Department Manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • Dale Bailey, Site Manager at the Neches Compost site
  • Wendy Ellis, Palestine Economic Development Director
  • Judge Robert Johnston, Anderson County
  • Laura Westgate, City of Palestine Visitor Center and Main Street Manager
  • Judge Bill Curley and the Lions Club members
  • Steve Presley and Hugh Summers, Texas State Railroad Authority
  • Sarah Skloss, Heather Calhoun, Jennifer London and Meghan Hill, Palestine Junior Service League

For more information on the Davey Dogwood Park reforestation, the March 16, planting day or the park in general, contact the Palestine Visitor Center at 903-723-3014, or Anderson County Judge Johnston’s office at 903-723-7406.

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