It rained. The soil was dense and heavy, marbled with earthworms. Just a few yards away on York Road, traffic was loud and nonstop. The students swung shovels, wrestled a post-hole digger and pounded stakedrivers to put 90 young native trees in the ground – efforts that will provide critical sight- and sound-buffering to future users of Buckingham’s newest park.
Organized by the township’s Environmental Advisory Commission (EAC), the Oct. 17 event at Holicong Park Extension was led by EAC member and Master Watershed Steward Jim Walter. Walter instructed about 30 Central Bucks East students how to plant and protect the trees, which included scarlet oak, arrowwood viburnum, sweet bay magnolia, flowering dogwood and black and red chokeberry. As they grow, the new trees will capture carbon and pollution, reduce run-off and help stablilize the surrounding soil, in addition to providing shade.
“Having fun yet?” an adult volunteer asked one of the students.
“Actually, I am,” she replied, sounding slightly surprised.
The student volunteers included many from See Green, CB East’s environmental club, and the National Honor Society. Their 90 trees, added to the 100 trees CB East students planted along the same stretch last fall, completes the EAC’s tree-planting plan for this part of the park. The trees were granted to Buckingham by the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, which seeks to plant that number of trees in Pennsylvania by the close of 2025. An hour and 50 minutes after planting started, the last tree was in the ground – wrapped in a white plastic tube to protect it from deer and topped with mesh to keep birds from getting trapped inside.
The students shouldered their shovels and headed for the parking lot to go home. They’d made a small down payment on a better future. All in all, a good day’s work done.
Andrea Strout is chair of Buckingham’s Environmental Advisory Commission.