A little less than one year since the storm, Branford is showing signs of rebound from the devastation of and thanks to a special gift from the Branford Lion’s Club, 120 pine trees (conifers) will be planted at to replace the more than 20 lost during the storm. Town wide, Branford’s Director Art Baker said lost more than 150 trees during the tropical storm.
A passion of his for a while, member Chris Woerner has been organizing the planting of these 120 conifers at Foote Park, which will become the town’s first pinetum. The inaugural planting of a few trees will take place at Foote Memorial Park .; the public is invited to attend.
A pinetum is a habitat of conifer trees and Foote Park will have two separate areas dedicated as conifer havens for four native species as part of Woerner’s initiative. The chosen native species are Douglas Fir, Eastern White Pine, Easter Red Cedar and White Spruce (donations of other trees will be welcomed to continue to grow the pinetum; to donate e-mail Chris Woerner at email@example.com).
Showing Patch where the smaller pinetum will be, along the wetlands on the northwest loop of the park, Woerner reflected on the upcoming planting, “It was always something I found intriguing because the idea of a conifer forest is sort of lovely and mysterious because they are dense and kind of private zones and some conifer stands are almost like a labyrinth and I like that sort of romantic quality of them but this would have an education component in terms of labeling the trees as well.”
Considering himself more of a “birder” than a tree man, the educational component of the new planting is really exciting for the general public said Woerner. “Ultimately it would be a place for people to walk and visit and it won’t be that dense, but dense enough that you can walk around and get a nice feeling and then see the individual trees labeled so you can get a sense of what the conifers look like.”
Down in the lower east part of the park, along the fence line where there are already Eastern White Pines growing tall, will be the other conifer sanctuary geared more toward promoting wildlife. The area will be a haven for migrating birds looking for food and for owls looking to nest, said Woerner.
Finding a location to plant the donated trees was challenging said Woerner, who as a Branford Land Trust member consulted the group first. Woerner said he eventually thought of Foote Park and park supervisor Joseph Tiskus jumped at the idea. It was a match made in heaven for all.
Shirley McCarthy, Forest Commission Chair is equally excited about the upcoming planting and partnership with the community and Foote Park. “Our mission,” she said, “is education and planting trees.”
Chris Woerner, a Stony Creek resident, local architect and birding enthusiast, will be keeping the community up to speed on Branford Community Forest Commission ventures through Branford Patch’s section. Some of the topics he’s hoping to cover will be highlighting Branford’s unique trees about town as well as looking for suggestions of locations for future plantings. Stay tuned!