Volunteers and members of The Nature Conservancy showed their commitment to nature and enjoyed the outdoors to plant spruce seedlings in Canaan Valley State Park.
“Canaan Valley is one of those areas that was well-known for its spruce forests prior to industrial logging of the last century. What we are doing today is trying to put some of those native trees back into the landscape,” said Lands Director Mike Powell.
Red Spruce is native to the higher elevation forests in West Virginia. Historically, Red Spruce covered over one million acres and now cover less than 60,000.
“We’ve been working for over ten years with various partners through the Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative to put Red Spruce back into the landscape,” continued Powell.
The goal was to plant 3,000 trees in celebration of Earth Day. Officials said the planting events are working, bringing new life to the forests and helping to preserve the spruce population.
“Eventually we’d want to see these back into the overstory so that this forest is about half or more of these Red Spruce species that are in that are in this overstory of the forest that we are in right now,” said Nature Conservancy State Director Thomas Minney.
Volunteers worked with crew members to make sure the saplings have the best chance at survival.
“You don’t want to be too close to other saplings that we’re planting and also other trees that are existing in the area. You want to get enough of a hole so the root clusters go in nice so they get enough exposure to the soil,” said AmeriCorps Member Tyler Costlow.
“The only way that we win in conservation is when everybody believes in it and is engaged in it,” said Minney.