We are gearing up for one of our most fun events of the year, Tree Planting Day. This year, Tree Planting Day is scheduled for February 29th. The trees that grow in western Oregon are dormant in the the winter and that makes this time of year perfect for planting seedlings. At Starker Forests, we plant nearly 500,000 seedlings each year. Tree Planting Day was established in the early 1990’s to offer young Scouts the opportunity to plant seedlings and earn a merit badge. The event is open for registration to boy scouts, cub scouts, girl scouts and brownies and other friends of Starker Forests.
Each participant is given ten trees to plant. We have helper tree planting instructors from the Philomath High School Forestry Class. Groups of tree planters will be paired with a high school student “professional” tree planter. The species of trees are mixed but the most popular is the Douglas fir, Oregon’s state tree. Douglas fir grows well in western Oregon and is a preferred species for structural lumber and wood frame building. We also plant other species, such as western hemlock, grand fir, western red cedar and spruce.
To make sure we have a really fun event, our friends from Boys Scout Troop 2 in Corvallis build a “kitchen” where they prepare hot chocolate and hot dogs. After planting their seedlings, tree planters can come to the kitchen to enjoy a warm drink and some food. Finally, participants can stop at our t-shirt table to pick up a Tree Planting Day t-shirt.
We cross our fingers for good weather, but we remember that real tree planters plant trees in all kinds of weather, including rain. After this day, everyone can agree that they are real tree planters now.