By LETTIE HAVER
Outreach Manager, ACRE Land Trust
NORTH MANCHESTER — Community residents will join Manchester University’s Environmental Club in reforesting an acre of Wildwood nature preserve in Kosciusko County on Saturday, April 16. The planting of 200 trees on the preserve 10 minutes north of campus is part of ACRES Land Trust’s Indiana Bicentennial celebration.
Some of the trees in the 235.5-acre wildwood are nearly 200 years old, said Casey Jones, ACRES director of land management and wildwood caretaker. “These trees were growing during the state’s founding,” said Jones, a 2007 Manchester graduate. “Reforesting today gives the public the chance to plant trees that will continue growing and improving this ecosystem on land that will be protected 200 years from now.”
“Participants will use dibble bars, a flat shovel length ergonomic tool used by foresters, to plant native hardwoods like shagbark hickory, tulip, black cherry, chinkapin and white oak seedling trees. Prior to the public event, ACRES volunteers and Manchester Environmental Club students will remove invasive brush and prepare the area for planting,” said Jones.
“As a University community, we have worked closely with ACRES, using their preserves as outdoor classrooms for research and exploration,” said Heather DeLorenzo, biology and environmental studies major and vice president of the Manchester University Environmental Club. “Re-establishing an acre of forest honors Hoosiers’ love of natural areas and supports biodiversity,” said the junior from Winamac.
Once established, new trees will provide habitat for forest dwelling mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Returning the long-fallow field to forest also creates a more aesthetically appealing area for hikers and other visitors to the preserve, including bus loads of area school children.
Wildwood offers 4.5 miles of trails through forest and prairie, numerous wetlands, vernal pools and a small pond. Trails are open from dawn to dusk.
The tree planting begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 16, at Wildwood, 409 E. SR 14, Silver Lake. Lunch will be provided by the Manchester University Environmental Club. REMC EnviroWatts is funding work day materials. The event is free; reservations are not necessary.
Together with its members, ACRES Land Trust preserves 5,924 acres of significant natural area in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan. ACRES provides more than 70 miles of trails through protected natural areas including wetlands, forests and native grasslands for hiking, photography, birding, wellness, family and school visits, reflection, discovery and adventure.