Through Rain and Sunshine, Volunteers Plant Nearly 15,000 Trees at Local Nature Park
Furnace Run Park, spanning 226 acres in Shippensburg, PA, is getting a facelift just in time for Earth Day. A collaborative effort between the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DCNR), the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and various volunteers from the local community brought about the planting of an impressive 14,500 bare-root trees on April 14th and 15th.
The two quarries, totaling about 25 acres, were graded when Southampton Township gained possession of the park nearly five years ago; however, regrowth was non-existent, and the steep slopes began to erode, according to a press release from the township.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation donated all of the bare-root native trees, chosen for either their contribution to wildlife or to add seasonal beauty, according to Maria Misner, Southampton Township’s Planning/Zoning Officer. Funding for the project also came from the Township’s ARPA, Covid-19 relief fund.
“The whole project is a passion project – and it almost didn’t happen so many times,” Misner said. “But every step along the way – it happened.”
Volunteers descended on the park Friday and Saturday, braving both rain and sunshine, to plant the young saplings around the quarries.
“We were relying on the volunteers, and they’re really showing up to plant them,” Misner said. “I’m just so happy that people came out in this weather.”
Danny and Sheena Mowers live nearby and came out to plant trees despite storms on the radar.
“We thought it would be a good thing to do – a green thing to do – for our kids and their kids in the future,” Sheena explained. “It will be a great thing for the community, a place for people to bring their kids and dogs to play.”
The quarries will be seeded with pollinator plants as well to further stabilize the slopes, prevent invasive species, add wildflower beauty, and provide habitat and food for wildlife while the trees grow.
Further enhancements to the park, such as the construction of a Central Visitor Center, are slated to begin this summer.
The enhancements will provide a space for environmental education and community activities. The center will be funded through a partial grant from DCNR.
Park planning and landscaping engineering for the project is being funded through an IMPACT grant received by the Franklin County Commissioners.
Furnace Run Park’s revitalization is a perfect example of how, with a combination of grant funding and a community willing to sow roots for the next generation, a beautiful place can grow and recover into the natural greenspace it was meant to be.
Written by Carley Kimball
Freelance Journalist and OPL Content Contributor
“I’ve always tried to implement planet-friendly practices in my life but didn’t quite realize just how much of an impact individuals can make until I was introduced to One Planet Life. I’m so excited to be able to utilize my professional skills to contribute valuable information and positive personal experiences to help make the world a better place.”