Duluth celebrated its Hartley Park replanting project Oct. 12. Dozens of volunteers, along with a crew hired through Community Action Duluth, have embarked on planting 3,500 new trees in the park.
So far 2,500 trees have been planted with approximately 1,000 left to go. Over 10 acres of Hartley Park is being replanted.
The project started in September. The timing is fortuitous as Hartley suffered much damage in the July 21 storm with over 1,000 fallen trees on the trails alone, according to Tom O’Rourke, Hartley Nature Center director.
A four-member crew employed through the Community Action Duluth Stream Corps have been doing the planting as seasonal work. In addition, nearly 50 volunteers have helped with the program. These included employees from Minnesota Power and Affinity Plus. Also 28 members of the Northern Minnesota Track Club, a group that runs on trails in the Twin Ports region, took part.
The replanting project was made possible in part through a matching grant of $25,000 from the Canadian National Railway (CN) EcoConnexions From the Ground Up program, administered by the nonprofit America in Bloom. The grant was one of 10 awards CN granted to American cities in November 2015.
“CN cuts down 600,000 to 800,000 trees every year for railroad ties. This is their way of giving back,” said Bill Hahn, consulting landscape architect for America in Bloom.
Other partners which provided funding and assistance include the City of Duluth and Minnesota Power.
As part of the grant requirements, Duluth take part in the America in Bloom National Awards Program. Expert judges will help municipal leaders and volunteers identify community strengths with regard to urban forestry, heritage preservation, landscaped areas, floral displays, environmental efforts and overall impression.
CN’s EcoConnexions “From the Ground Up” grant program is now in its third year in the U.S. For information go to AmericaInBloom.org/CN.
Written by Richard Thomas as published in the Duluth Budgeteer