A Park, a Planting, a Partnership

April 18, 2022 6:20 pm

A Park, a Planting, a Partnership

By Delaney Beattie, DOF Riparian Buffer Specialist- James River Buffer Program

At Greene County Community Park, partners recently came together for the simple act of planting a tree. Thirty trees and shrubs, to be exact – and there are more to come.

Some of the planting crew

Some of the planting crew

Greene County Community Park covers 70 acres and is the only public park in Greene County. The land is mostly open fields, but Quarter Creek runs through the property and has a narrow vegetated buffer. A bioswale was added around 2012 to filter runoff that enters the creek.

Deya Ramsden (DOF James River Buffer Program Coordinator) and I approached the park about extending the existing buffer and planting the swale. We initially presented County Parks and Recreation Director Justin Bullock with several ideas for increasing tree cover in the park, with a goal of enhancing biodiversity and wildlife habitat, as well as improving water quality. But when space is limited, lots of uses compete for the available land, and compromises must be made. Justin has had feedback from people who use the park, saying they like the open feel when they’re out walking and prefer a neat appearance. He also said that line of sight is important when parents are watching kids’ athletics while keeping an eye on their other children.

Deya, Justin, and I recently met with Ed Furlow (DOF Senior Area Forester), Ellen Powell (DOF Conservation Education Coordinator), and Kathy Alstat (Greene County 4-H Extension Agent) to review and revise plans, tour the property, and brainstorm other ideas to enhance the park and educate people about buffers.

On April 12, a group of eight 4-H members came out to plant seedlings, led by Kathy Alstat and myself. We planted 30 seedlings of river birch, buttonbush, and silky dogwood – all plants that are well adapted to riparian areas. We protected the new seedlings with tree shelter tubes. We also placed a few signs with information about riparian buffers around the planting areas. These will help educate the public about the reasons for the project. Stay tuned for more planting at this park!

The James River Buffer Program (a partnership of the James River Association, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) works with landowners in the middle and upper James River watershed to restore and create forest buffers that improve water quality.


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