DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The landscape at Wegerzyn Park changed after Memorial Day.
“You could hardly walk through the park actually right after the tornado,” said Meredith Cobb, Five Rivers MetroParks conservation supervisor.
The bike path is cleared and the park is open. However, tree limbs and branches are still piled up and trees remain barren.
“We lost so many old trees and nobody knows how many but by planting new trees, we’re helping wildlife,” said Cobb.
Fiver Rivers MetroParks is now announcing their Healing Nature program. It will help people impacted by the tornadoes replant trees and restore wildlife habitats on their properties.
“Trees help property values they can also help clean the air, mitigate storm water, they’re aesthetically pleasing,” said Cobb.
The following is a press release from Five Rivers MetroParks:
The official kick off for the reforestation portion of Healing Nature will be 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 18, during Five Rivers MetroParks’ annual park clean up event, Adopt-a-Park. Volunteers of all ages and accessibility levels are needed to help with tree planting and other projects. More information will be available by March 1, when the required registration opens.
Volunteers also are needed to plant at the Great Miami Mitigation Bank, 8401 Little Richmond Road in Trotwood, during Seedling Saturdays held from 9 a.m. to noon March 28, April 25 and May 23. Registration is required.
Community members can pick up a free tree seedling (while supplies last) to plant during the annual Carolyn Kimes Tree Seedling Giveaway, held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 17, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the 2nd Street Market, 600 E. Second St. in downtown Dayton.
In addition, property owners who lost trees during the tornados can pick up free native tree seedlings (up to three per property owner) from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 25, at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 Siebenthaler Ave.
Donations to the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation to support Healing Nature also are needed. Funds will be used to purchase or grow native trees and shrubs that will be planted in tornado-damaged areas. To make a donation, visit metroparks.org/healing-nature or contact Beth Redden, chief of philanthropy, at 937-275-PARK or email@example.com.
The second part of the initiative — focusing on encouraging the community to take advantage of the access to nature MetroParks provides — will be addressed in a marketing campaign throughout the year. The campaign, which is still in the planning stages, will provide a multitude of ways for people to connect with nature and improve their well-being.
Healing Nature will continue throughout the year, and details are still being planned. Updates will be posted at metroparks.org/healing-nature as they’re available.
“Trees not only provide habitat for wildlife and places of respite for humans: Trees improve air quality, mitigate stormwater, provide shade and enhance aesthetic beauty, and increase property values,” Benná said. “It’s important we heal the nature that heals our community.”