Saturday, October 27, 2012

Community Roots Day 2012: Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful

Community Roots Day, a beautification project coordinated by WS/FC Community Appearance Commission, Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful and the Vegetation Management Division of the City of Winston-Salem celebrated it 20th year today.

 This event brings the community together, with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds coming together to have fun and improve our city.  Over the last twenty years, more than 8,000 trees have been planted on Community Roots Day.  These trees add a tangible benefit to our area.  They add not only beauty and shade, but also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, reduce pollution, reduce storm water run-off and prevent erosion.  

It was a great pleasure to participate in this year's Community Roots Day.    We began the day with registration,  we were assigned  teams and we each received a hat and t-shirt of our own.  We were on the Blue Team.  We all came together and heard Mayor  Allen Joines speak, as well as several of our city Alderman and a representative from the Arbor Day Foundation.  Winston-Salem was  selected as a Tree City, USA and presented with a flag.
Due to it's great success, more than 40 companies donate time, money and materials to the event.  In addition, the project received two grants.  The Waste Management "Think Green" Grant in the amount of $10,000 went towards the purchase of trees.  The project also received a $5,000 grant from the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation.

The first dig
 Planting Leaders included local Master Gardeners, the Garden Club Council, local landscapers and community garden leaders.  While they were there for guidance, the volunteers were digging the holes, planting the trees, replacing the dirt, and covering with mulch.  

Initially, I was worried about showing up with a four-year-old and eight-year-old.  I had no reason to worry.  This event is suitable for everyone.  There were Scouting troops, high school groups, civic groups, and people (like us) who came  by ourselves and were placed in a team.  Everyone really did work together, and when a group finished with one tree, they turned to their neighbor and asked, "Need some help?"  Philip Phibbs and his daughter Mariah, of Winston-Salem, helped us complete the hole for our first tree, as well as getting it into the hole and covering the roots back with the dirt and mulch.    Mariah is a student at Early College of Forsyth, and is receiving extra credit in her science class by participating.  Her Dad has volunteered previously and joined his daughter because he had such a good time in previous years.  On our second tree, we were joined by a gentleman who was in his seventh or eighth year of volunteering at Community Roots Day.  I'm sure he was solidly in his 70s.  

Our team's area of beautification was at the Ray Agnew Football Field on Waterworks Road just off of New Walkertown.  Our first tree was in the green space in front. The first tree we planted was an Arapahoe Crape Myrtle.  Our second tree was a Red Bud, and ours is the third from the front on the left side of the sidewalk in the center of the parking lot.  Our last tree, a Locust, is the second from the end on the right side of the sidewalk.  We're excited to claim these trees as "ours" and look forward to seeing them grow!

"The result of Community Roots Day is that it improves how people feel about where they live," said George Stilphen, coordinator of Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful. "People have a greater sense of pride in their community and along the way it increases property values and draws business and retains it. Planting trees has a direct impact on the economy."

There were more than 500 volunteers to plant 417 trees.  Our team had finished planting in our designated area by 11am.  We were then treated to a hot dog lunch with chips, bananas, cake squares from Dewey's and plenty to drink.

Our blue team included high school students, a Girl Scout troop and more.

Finishing up our last tree, a Locust, with help from Philip Phibbs and his daughter Mariah of Winston-Salem.  Mariah is a student at Early College of Forsyth, and is receiving extra credit for participating in Community Roots Day.

 Proud to be a part of Community Roots Day!  The Girls and I have agreed that we'll make this an annual event for us, as well.

This year's planting took place along New Walkertown Road and the Newell/Massey Greenway.  Orange cones protected the volunteers from traffic on New Walkertown Road.
After the event, newly planted trees line both sides of New Walkertown Road from Waterworks to Carver School Roads.

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