Written by David Bunzow
They came on both 21 and single speed bicycles, in trucks and carpooling automobiles, on foot, and in a wheelchair – more than 110 willing volunteers aged 7-73 – with the singular purpose of assisting nature by improving a historic park section of The Red River of the North in Moorhead, MN. Volunteers from several local businesses including Anheuser-Busch, D-S Beverages Inc, American Crystal Sugar, Bell Bank, FedEx, Gate City Bank, HDR, Microsoft, Trinity Lutheran Preschool, US Bank, and Wex Health, were evident during the day; several volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were also hard at work with their planting duties and then watering of the young trees.It takes a lot of planning, patience, manual labor and dedicated people with vision and desire to help create a tree-rich legacy that can benefit the North for decades and even centuries to come. This event takes many weeks of planning to organize and would not have been possible without the strong financial support and stewardship guidance from our event sponsors, many of whom have continued their support from previous Reforest the Red events. Tools for digging, healthy mulch materials to surround the root systems of roughly 800 saplings, boxes of light blue sapling protector tubes, multiple rolls of duct tape and water to ensure an intimate contact between mulch and roots systems were all needed, helping to ensure the young trees their very best chance of survival for these one-day river giants that future generations of local residents and visitors can enjoy and admire. The Red River itself will also hopefully benefit from the enhancement of shade and soil enrichment provided by the trees in the coming years.
River Oaks Park was the site of this years’ tree plantings, and at the end of 3+ hours of hard but rewarding work on the hottest day of 2019 thus far (97 F.!), it was indeed a beautiful sight for all to behold a sea of turquoise tree supports along the watery banks and nearby fields of the Red. “Have a long and happy life, trees – one and all!”
There are many people to thank for their efforts today. Financial assistance came from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation through a grant from River Network and Muscatell Automotive. Our project partners include City of Moorhead, MN, and the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District.
I leave you today with this thought, formed after a tiring but fulfilling day of planting trees:
Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. — (Luna Leopold, Hydrologist)