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MetroParks Gives Away Free Tree Seedlings And Consultations To Help "Rewild" After Tornadoes

Tree damage following 2019's Memorial Day Tornadoes
Five Rivers Metroparks
Tree damage following 2019's Memorial Day Tornadoes

Over the weekend at Wegerzyn Gardens, staff from FiveRivers MetroParks gave away over 3,000 free native tree seedlings to community members whose properties were damaged during last year’s tornadoes.

It’s part of a process called rewilding. That’s when you plant native plants to replace ones that have been lost to things like human development -- or to natural disasters, like the tornadoes that hit the Miami Valley last year. In addition to all the other losses people experienced, the tornadoes also killed a huge number of plants, trees and shrubs. This weekend's MetroParks giveaways aims to jump start the reforestation process.

“So I always tell people when they plant trees that you have to think of it through tree time," says Meredith Cobb, FiveRiver MetroParks’ conservation supervisor. "We have four different species of oak and four different species that are hickory. All of those are going to take a while to really take off and grow. That would be a shade tree." She said, "we're talking 40 or 50 years before it's full size. But in ten years or five years, they'll start producing seeds, which will help the wildlife in that area.”

MetroParks had staff available at the giveaway to make recommendations on which trees will work best in local soil and how to best care for the young trees.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.