Albemarle High School Students Plant Native Trees.
Over the past two semesters, under the guidance of their teacher, Diana Webber, Albemarle High School’s AP Environmental Science students developed a landscaping plan for the front entrance and parking area of the high school and collaborated with CATS to carry out tree plantings. The first phase of the work was completed in June 2017 and the second phase in December.
Webber contacted CATS through our website asking if we could offer guidance on how best to plant the trees. Tim Maywalt and Phil Stokes met with her and the head of the grounds crew to plan the work. The students chose a variety of native trees for these plantings including dogwoods, serviceberries, red and nuttal oaks, red maples, Kentucky coffee trees, tulip trees, Norwegian spruce, redbuds, serviceberries, and American holly. Several Tree Stewards worked side-by-side with Diana, the students, and the school’s grounds crew to plant twenty-one trees in June along the Hydraulic Road entrance and in December another twenty-eight trees were planted in the parking area and along the drive to the school.
For the December planting, twelve tree stewards participated, including Tim Maywalt, Tom Wild, Donna Vinal, William Hamersky, Phil Stokes and Penny Kaiserlian, as well as graduates of the recent Tree Steward Training Class–Peyton Williams, Allen Ingling, Kathy Nepote, Rachel Keen, and Lida Wise. Amory Fischer, a graduate of AHS and a CATS member in training, instructed groups of students on the basics of tree planting. Various tree stewards provided guidance, tools, and oversight and helped almost 50 students from several of the Environmental Sciences classes with digging holes, planting, composting, mulching and watering.
Diana Webber expects that her AP Environmental Science students will be planning more plantings at Albemarle High with the assistance of the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards in future years.
Trees Planted at Jackson Via Elementary School
On October 26 CATS members Lisa Sheffield and Camille Wilson visited Jackson Via’s after school garden club. The Garden Club is part of the City’s School Yard Gardens project and is run by master gardener Mary Voorhies. Camille and Lisa helped the students plant two trees just at the beginning of the woods which are adjacent to the school. The Kousa Dogwood and Eastern Redbud were purchased by the club from the CATS tree sale. Lisa also did some leaf identification as they hiked the woods. The students did the digging, refilling and mulching and continue to water and monitor the trees. Each took home a laminated redbud leaf as a memory of a wonderful day in the woods.
Native Trees Planted near McIntire Park.
Visit to the State Arboretum of Virginia.
On October 16, about 30 CATS members made a special outing to the State Arboretum, that occupies the central 172 acres of the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm. Started in the 1930s, it now contains over 5000 woody trees and shrubs from around the world. Stephen B. Carroll, director of public programs, was our knowledgeable guide. A feature of the Arboretum is its grove of 300 ginkgos, a tree that Steve called “the oldest plant on our planet.” Ginkgos turns a brilliant yellow in fall and drop their leaves dramatically in concert with their companions in the grove. We were a few weeks too early to see this show, but the grove was still impressive. A few adventurous CATS members walked in the grove, which was littered with the stinking fruit of the females. Urban foresters prefer to plant the male tree but Steve tells us it can take twenty years to determine if a tree is male or female. We also visited the arboretum’s well-established conifer collection which contains a number of state champions.
Fall 2017 Tree Sale.
Tree Stewards held their Fall Tree sale on October 14, a beautiful sunny day. The CATS sale is offered every six months, but this was the first time it has been held at Tufton Farm, in conjunction with the Open House of Monticello’s Center for Historic Plants. Twenty-nine CATS volunteers collaborated on putting out the trees and answering questions on selection, planting, and care. We offered mostly native trees and shrubs from smaller shrubs like blueberry, elderberry, hazelnuts and viburnums to understory standards like dogwoods, redbuds and buckeyes to the stately and beautiful oaks, bald cypress, and hickories. Most trees were for sale from $5.00 to $10.00, making this one of the best plant buys around. The young trees have been potted up and nurtured at our nursery space, generously provided by Tree Steward Jay Gillenwater at his Grandview Nursery (featured in Virginia Home Grown, Episode #1707). By the time we packed up, we had sold 260 trees and shrubs ready to find their new homes in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties.
As part of a new Tree Walk program, Tree Stewards led three 90-minute walks at James Monroe’s historic Highland property in September and October with attendance of about sixty people. Highland’s magnificent open spaces afford vistas of mature ash, black walnut, maples, oaks, and other native trees. Sharon Hiner, who is an interpreter at Highland as well as a Tree Steward, led the walk accompanied by Tim Maywalt and Penny Kaiserlian. Sharon pointed out the characteristics of a variety of native trees and explained how to identify them by their leaves, bark, nuts and many other features. Highlights of the walk were a towering hemlock and a massive oak tree, both dating to Monroe’s time. Sharon explained how Highland’s trees and tree-ring dating have contributed to historical interpretation at the site. We intend to offer further walks at Highland in 2018 at different seasons.