HIGHWAY BEAUTIFICATION/Tree planting spruces up highway interchange
Often, one can tell whether apathy is a problem in a community by observing its appearance and upkeep. In Virginia, newly planted seedlings along a busy highway interchange are evidence of citizens’ concern about their environment.
Some 100 volunteers teamed up last fall with Fairfax ReLeaf and the Washington, D.C.-based National Tree Trust (NTT), a non-profit environmental organization, to plant more than 1,000 seedlings on the Fairfax County Parkway and I-66. Drivers on the two highways are the beneficiaries, as is the land itself, which now will be less susceptible to erosion.
The tree planting, part of NTT’s “America’s Treeways” program, was the centerpiece of “Volfest 1996,” sponsored by the Fairfax County Volunteer Center.
The planting was a team effort, with the state department of transportation drilling holes for the trees, the county department of public works furnishing mulch and Hyatt Hotels at FairLakes, which overlooks the interchange, providing refreshments.
Fairfax ReLeaf and NTT work toward “helping restore the urban forest where public agencies have no budget to do the work themselves,” says Barbara White of the Virginia Department of Forestry.
America’s Treeways is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Forest Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the National Association of State Foresters, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and NTT.
To foster public/private partnerships, America’s Treeways encourages and assists the volunteer planting of trees along the nation’s roadsides.
Through partnerships with 12 forest product companies, NTT’s tree bank provides seedlings to organizations or transportation agencies that use volunteers for their roadside projects. Since 1991, the Trust has provided more than 3.6 million trees to 500 organizations in 48 states.
For more information, write to America’s Treeways, National Tree Trust, 1120 G Street, Suite 770, Washington, DC 20005, or call (800) 846-8733.