In an ongoing effort to protect and nurture Davey Dogwood Park and the tradition of the Dogwood Trails Celebration, members of the community and Dogwood Trails Celebration visitors are invited to Davey Dogwood Park on Saturday to plant dogwood trees.
The planting project, taking place from noon to 4 p.m., is the result of a partnership between Anderson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joey Hill and the Palestine Economic Development Corp.
“Davey Dogwood Park is a valuable and unique part of the Palestine and Anderson County community,” a news release said.
Discussions on how to help the park have occurred over the years, but those discussions reached a peak last year due to the drought in 2011 and the fungus attacks in 2010 which damaged many trees inside the park.
“We knew that extensive planting would need to occur to reforest the parts of the park affected,” Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston said. “We had already begun the process with seedling planting each year. Commissioner Hill and his crew planted a couple hundred last year and planned to do 1,000 each year.”
“Our focus is on the long-term, and while the seedlings are a good base for reforestation, we realized early on we needed larger trees that produce blooms faster,” the judge continued. “So the PEDC matched a one-for-one agreement on purchasing the mature trees we needed.”
Those 300 trees were planted in mid-February along the 2.1 mile main road way in Davey Dogwood Park. Planting was done by a county crew with assistance on the first day from the Anderson County Master Gardeners.
Because they are not sold by many nurseries in large quantities, Lowe’s Home Improvement in Palestine provided the 300 trees needed for the February planting project; and in hopes of increasing the trees’ odds for survival, the trees were given some local “soil therapy” compost and mulch from the Angelina & Neches River Authority compost facility.
Since that time, other community groups have heard about the planting and donated volunteer time and money to join the effort.
The Palestine Lions Club planted 15 trees along Spring Street directly across from the Visitor Center, board members with the Texas State Railroad Authority planted trees at the Palestine Depot and members from the Palestine Junior Service League planted six trees at Reagan Park.
These partnerships were coordinated by the Palestine Visitor Center and Main Street Manager Laura Westgate.
“I have worked on this project since last Dogwood Trails and hit so many bumps, but it came together quickly when the right players were involved,” Westgate said. “I am so grateful for the support of everyone who has made it work.
“Without them we would not have accomplished a 300 tree replanting project in such a short time! This project is a true community project.”
For Saturday’s reforestation event, officials have designated specified planting locations that have been selected and marked with orange flags. Once participants select a place to plant a tree, they will receive GPS coordinates so they can locate their tree and check its progress year after year.
Those who participate in the tree planting on Saturday also will be entered to win a diamond that will be given away at the end of the day in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Dogwood Trails.
Other individuals and organizations contributing to the replanting effort include: Precinct 4 Crew Leader Victor Edge; Precinct 4 Dogwood Trails crew member Billy Miller; Lowe's Home Improvement store manager Jeremy Dearman; Lowe's Home Improvement department manager Tammy Chershire; Neches Compost Site manager Dale Bailey; PEDC Director Wendy Ellis; Judge Bill Curley and Lions Club members; Texas State Railroad Authority members Steve Presley and Hugh Summers; and Palestine Junior Service League members Sarah Skloss, Heather Calhoun, Jennifer London and Meghan Hill.
For more information on the Davey Dogwood Park reforestation, the planting day or the park in general, contact the Palestine Visitor Center at 903-723-3014 or Anderson County Judge Johnston's office at 903-723-7406.