Planting demonstration at the Wilson College planting. Photo courtesy of Bob Stoler.On Saturday April 27, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Wilson College, and approximately 180 volunteers planted over 300 native trees and shrubs along the Conococheague Creek on the college’s McKee Green. Chambersburg community members learned about the benefits of riparian buffers, proper tree planting techniques, the college’s mission for sustainability, and among other things, the Alliance’s commitment to supporting the county’s Trees for Tomorrow Program. Trees for Tomorrow Buffer in a Box. Photo courtesy of Bob Stoler.On Wednesday April 30, 20 community members participated in a Buffer in a Box and Backyard Trees where the Alliance, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and Franklin County Conservation District staff presented on riparian buffers, planting techniques, and the Trees for Tomorrow Program. The volunteers walked away with boxes full of native trees and shrubs to plant on their property. In total, over 400 seedlings were handed out and will be planted along local streams and in resident’s yards in the county. The homeowners will report out their planting details to the Alliance in the upcoming weeks.

The plants for both events were provided by Octoraro Native Plants Nursery.

The two events are part of the Franklin County Trees for Tomorrow program, an initiative organized by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Franklin County Commissioners, generously funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Pennsylvania Foundation for Watersheds. The Alliance is providing technical and financial assistance to local governments, non-profit institutions, and private landowners in the Conococheague Creek watershed (a tributary of the Potomac River) to accelerate riparian buffer plantings and turf-to-trees initiatives. Volunteers planting at Wilson College. Photo courtesy of Bob Stoler.The Alliance plans to conduct additional workshops and planting events in fall of 2014. Increasing tree canopy cover throughout the region is a long-term investment for reducing sediment and nutrients in runoff, controlling stormwater management, and improving habitat for Pennsylvania’s wildlife. For homeowners, riparian buffers can help stop erosion and loss of their land, while planting new trees provide several economic, environmental, and aesthetic benefits.