“The more volunteers we have, the better,” Parks Department spokeswoman Sarah Nichter said. “It's a wonderful opportunity for families to come out and for parents to teach kids how important trees are in the community.
“Donating is an option for people who aren't able to come out and volunteer but still want to help out.”
The Great Tree Canopy Comeback is a grass-roots movement to combat the critical loss of trees in Fort Wayne.
Since the 1940s, the city's tree canopy had decreased by almost 50 percent, a hired consultant told the Parks Department in 2002, Nichter said. Diseases wiped out trees, and budget cuts wouldn't allow for total replacement.
“The Dutch elm disease destroyed elm trees, which were a major tree in this area because they were native,” Nichter said. “That's why a lot of our old streets have no trees at all.”
Since 2002, more than 1,650 trees have been planted. Nichter said the tree trunks are about 2 inches around and stand 10 to 12 feet tall. In the past, trees have been planted along roadways between curbs and sidewalks.
“They're good-sized trees, and we want them to have a chance to survive,” she said.
Great Tree Canopy ComebackWhen: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Johnny Appleseed and Shoaff park and Salomon Farm in Fort Wayne; Werling Park in New Haven; and Metea County Park
To volunteer or donate: Contact Natalie Eggeman, Parks & Recreation public information officer, 427-6028 or Michelle Briggs Wedaman, Great Tree Canopy coordinator, 710-4413
Volunteers are asked to register in advance and bring a shovel.