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Trees Planted in Record Time

Dr. Pat Cooper, superintendent of Lafayette Parish School System

Dr. Pat Cooper, superintendent of Lafayette Parish School System, and community gather for the honorarium and memorial recognitions.

In the planning stages of TreesAcadiana’s 2013 Arbor Day project, we knew that our plans exceeded the scope of any of the plantings we had ever done before.  With the realization that we would need at least 150 plants to screen the frontage of the Lafayette school bus parking and warehouse area, we thought the task might involve two or more phases to complete.

The outstanding response of the community coupled with the coordination of parties involved, proved to be a magic formula that exceeded our most optimistic expectations.  The volunteers planted 174 trees in an hour and a half!   Volunteers began arriving before 9 a.m. and by the time an hour passed there were more than 80 helping us.  Many of these were volunteers affiliated with Lafayette Parish School System, teachers, staff and administrators, but we also had Lafayette Master Gardeners, church groups, firefighters, friends and family helping our loyal membership with the planting..

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Numbers of volunteers rise as the morning progresses.

A break was taken to announce the honorarium and memorial tributes that were sent in to TreesAcadiana by community members.  The trees are a reflection of these gifts and were planted in their honor.  Among those, a honor tribute was made to LPSS Superintendent Pat Cooper. Jim Foret, our very appreciated licensed arborist who drew up the plans and selected the trees for our planting, was also honored , along with many loved ones including a few groups of grandchildren.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe planting had already made significant progress, when Dr. Cooper noted how the impressive and meaningful efforts like this bind the community.  He said, “It’s the little things like this that make a huge difference.”  Cooper added, “To have the community support us in planting these trees (and) for TreesAcadiana to … partner with us, I think is more important than anything because we are all in this together.  Anything we can do to help our school district, but more (importantly), to help our community, it’s the way to go.”

The length of frontage has been transformed.  In time, the plants will establish themselves and mature to create a full and colorful portrait, changing with each season.  Those who participated can pack themselves on the back for a job well-done, but that is not the end of it.  TreesAcadiana president, Sarah Schoeffler, invites the community to plant more trees.  “We have plenty of seedlings that have been potted and need a new home.”

The selection awaits you at Bayou Vermilion District (BVD), 300 Fisher, across Surrey from where the planting took place.  The seedlings number approximately 2,000.  Some that have been planted in bunches could do with separation and repotting in individual containers.  The task would be a worthwhile project for any one or group looking to earn service hours.  Contact Margot Addison, the education and recreation coordinator at BVD for more information, at  (337) 233-4077.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe species include a variety of oak trees: live, nutall, cow (or basket), white, willow, pin and obtuse.  Also there is green ash, green elm, button bush, tulip or yellow poplar and pond cypress.  Nut and fruit trees include black walnut, pecan, mayhaw, crab apple, red mulberry and persimmon.  All these are free for the taking until they are gone!

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