ATHENS, Ga.- Sandy Creek Nature Center wants residents to come out and plant trees this Saturday.

The event is part of a long term Managed Forest Project at Sandy Creek Nature Center. The project will convert 30 acres of low-quality wildlife habitat into a managed forest.

Over 25 years ago, Sandy Creek started the managed forest project using a group of volunteers and staff. This weekend, the project will continue its ongoing efforts to maintain a strong forest ecosystem by planting trees.

One of the project’s main goals has been to reintroduce natural fires into the tree cycle. Fire once played a huge role in the natural cycle of trees in Georgia, but the process was eventually eliminated due to the fear that the fires would burn down urban and civilized areas.

Sandy Creek has teamed with the American Chestnut Foundation, who works to breed American Chestnut trees with Chinese Chestnut trees in order to grow disease-free trees. The nature center has been working to revitalize the American Chestnut tree population on their property.

“We’re going to be a reforestation site. It’ll help bring the chestnuts back into the forest with Athens being kind of an epicenter for doing that in the North Georgia region,” Wharton said. “So we’re pretty excited about being part of that and the American Chestnut Foundation effort.”

As a way to demonstrate their work, the nature center has invited the community to plant trees Saturday, March 4, starting at 10 a.m.

Volunteers will be able to help reestablish the forest habitat and plant over 300 seedlings throughout the day.

Wharton also encouraged volunteers and families to bring gloves, water and boots to the event.

By: Janie Bohlmann and Janey Murray


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