Verona Plants Trees

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Emma Kirby, Anna Collins, Tessa Bichalski, and Sophie Hacker from Brownies Troop 20228 cleared ground to plant behind their school
Emma Kirby, Anna Collins, Tessa Bichalski, and Sophie Hacker from Brownies Troop 20228 cleared ground to plant behind their school
Verona got a whole lot greener this past weekend, thanks to a host of volunteers under the guidance of the Verona Environmental Commission, the Hilltop Conservancy and H.B. Whitehorne’s Beautification Committee.

The VEC continued its restoration of the Peckman River woods behind F.N. Brown, adding trees and plants that are native to this kind of woodlands: three river birches, three swamp white oaks and two amelanchier (Serviceberry) shrubs, along with a clutch of ostrich ferns. The plants were delivered to the woods by the Verona Public Works Department, no small task considering that the swamp oaks weighed about 200 pounds each. Twenty-two adult volunteers and 16 children, including Brownie Troop 20228 from F.N. Brown, put in over 80 hours of combined work. The Board of Education’s Buildings & Grounds staff helped rig up a temporary water line so that the volunteers could fill the watering bags that ring the trees.

VEC project volunteers used an auger to dig holes for the large trees, then carefully lower them into position
VEC project volunteers used an auger to dig holes for the large trees, then carefully lower them into position

There was a far larger project at the Hilltop Reservation, where the Hilltop Conservancy is in the process of planting 100 native trees and shrubs on sites that held out-buildings for Verona’s former tuberculosis sanatorium. Because of the poor quality of the soil–debris from the buildings’ demolition was packed into the ground–Conservancy volunteers had to move wheel barrows full of compost into each planting hole. DPW has been bringing truckloads of mulch from the town leaf dump to the Hilltop, where it can naturally decompose into soil. DPW also dug post holes for a high fence that will protect the plantings from deer until they are more established.

Hilltop Conservancy member Anne Stires shows off the new trees--and the fencing that will protect them from deer
Hilltop Conservancy member Anne Stires shows off the new trees–and the fencing that will protect them from deer

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On May 29, HBW’s Beautification Committee planted a Linden tree by the middle school’s basketball court. In the last two years, the committee has planted six trees and other plants, transplanted crowded ones, mulched, pruned and cleaned up the school grounds. This summer, several school families have volunteered to water and weed, including the Mansfield-Blitzs, Loudons, Wynnes, Hunts, Curcio-Molnars, Squilanti-Baronas and Machnowskis.

HBW's Beautification Committee has added six trees to school grounds in recent years
HBW’s Beautification Committee has added six trees to school grounds in recent years

Speaking of volunteers, there is still a need for volunteers to finish the planting at the Hilltop this coming weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can help put the trees and shrubs in the ground and mulched, and then hang the next section of deer fence. If you park by the tennis courts behind the Hilltop apartments, you need only walk a short distance up the road to get to the restoration site. For more information, see the Conservancy’s Web site.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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