MOORE — Members of The Tree Bank Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote and plant trees to enrich Oklahoma communities, have announced creation of the Tornado Re-Leaf project and are seeking volunteers to plant trees in storm-ravaged Newcastle, Moore, Shawnee and Piedmont.
“The Oklahoma Forestry Department is comparing satellite images to determine how many trees were destroyed by May's tornadoes,” said Nicki Largent, executive director of the Tree Bank in Oklahoma City. “In 1999, 3,811 trees were destroyed, so we are estimating that this time around there were about 4,000 destroyed.”
Largent said Tree Bank organizers hope to plant at least 1,000 trees in tornado-affected areas in late October or early November. They need volunteers to plant trees during Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 9 and 10.
“The communities are going to dig the holes so all the volunteers will need to do is put trees in the holes, cover them with dirt, water and mulch,” Largent said.
This is the first time volunteers will physically plant trees instead of just contribute money.
“We had so many people want to volunteer. Doing it this way just felt right,” Largent said.
Aside from the environmental benefits trees offer, they have the ability to turn a landscape into a home, Largent said
“When the land is completely bare, it's depressing. A tree makes it feel like a community — a home,” she said.
Largent said trees will be planted in the fall so they can soak in the additional moisture Oklahoma's winter often has to offer.
Maple and oak trees donated to the tree bank from local tree farms will likely be the most common trees planted, Largent said.
How to help
To learn more about The Tree Bank Foundation, to register to volunteer or to donate, go to www.thetreebank.org.