September 26, 2011
The Town of Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Fort Kent will receive nearly 100 trees in early October, all free of charge, thanks to Project Canopy, the Maine Forest Service’s community tree program, and through the generosity of Dutton's Greenhouse and Nursery in Morrill, Maine.
The Town and the University applied for the trees in a joint effort both to obtain the free trees for planting in town and on campus, but also as a training and education opportunity for UMFK Forestry and Environmental Studies students.
The University will plant balsam fir and white spruce along the river bank at Crocker Beach to replace trees killed by beaver and to provide bank stabilization.
Hemlock will be planted along Armory Road to replace dying pine, and to increase cover. At present, UMFK has no hemlock on campus, so the trees will act as teaching specimens, as well.
Red maple trees will be used for campus beautification and shade. Some will be planted in the campus quad to shade Cyr Hall, while others will be planted along University Drive.
“This project will be a great opportunity for students in the Forest Protection course,” says Dave Hobbins, professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies. “The University is extremely grateful to Cindy Bouley of the Town of Fort Kent Office of Planning, for coordinating the tree donation program with Project Canopy,” Hobbins added.
The Town will plant its donated trees throughout Riverside Park to replace ones that have been lost to flooding and winds.
Following the spring flood of 2008, the Town acquired the former senior housing site and is in the process of relocating its recreational vehicle site to that location. The Town intends to plant white spruce and white pine trees to provide a natural buffer between the RV site and the rest of the park.
The remaining trees will be planted along a walking trail that meanders throughout the park, along the St. John River, and in wooded and open spaces. Some trees will be planted alongside the parking lot and picnic areas.
“Collaborating with the University on this project will help to insure the success of the plantings,” said Don Guimond, Fort Kent town manager. “Professor Hobbins’ knowledge of the appropriate species that will prosper in this region is invaluable,” he added.
Tree planting and maintenance will provide an educational and training tool for the University’s Forestry and Environmental Studies students, as well.
The town’s Public Works and Recreational and Parks departments will be responsible for the planting and maintenance of the trees in Riverside Park, and the UMFK students will monitor the trees’ progression.
Along with University students, the Public Works and Recreation and Park departments will check on the trees every month during the first year, to ensure proper watering and to verify that the trees remain disease free. The departments will monitor the trees during the next two years. The trees will be pruned and studied by the students.
Dutton's Greenhouse and Nursery in Morrill has decided to close its operation at the end of the season. Rather than wholesale its remaining stock, the business has decided to give back to the communities that have supported it over the years by donating more than 1,000 trees to Project Canopy. The donated trees includes 75 different species, which are being offered free of charge to municipalities, schools, and non-profit organizations for community planting.
Project Canopy educates people about the benefits trees provide, and how trees make people's lives better. It is a cooperative effort of the Maine Forest Service and the Pine Tree State Arboretum. Project Canopy is funded by the USDA Forest Service Community Forestry Assistance Program.