Somerset, PA – To celebrate Arbor Day, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today joined young adults participating in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps planting trees along Laurel Hill Creek in Laurel Hill State Park, Somerset County, to protect and improve water quality.
“On Arbor Day we celebrate trees, and all they do to help clean our air, protect our water quality, and make our landscapes and communities beautiful,” Dunn said. “Trees are even more beneficial growing along our waterways, because they buffer them from runoff from the land, and cool the water for fish and other wildlife in the stream.”
About 500 trees are being planted on 3-acres of the Countryman parcel acquired for Laurel Hill State Park in 2012. Laurel Hill Creek is a 37-mile tributary to the Youghiogheny River, and is a prime destination for trout fishing.
National Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.
“Critical to the future of conservation work is connecting young people to the outdoors, and that’s why I’m excited to pitch in and work alongside members of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, who have a 10-month opportunity to learn about jobs involving the stewardship of our land and water resources,” Dunn said. “Planting trees – anywhere – is something that anyone can do to make a difference.”
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps offers young people ages 15-25 job training, work experience and educational opportunities on Pennsylvania’s public lands. A 10-member crew of 18-25 year olds based in Greensburg has been working on projects at Laurel Hill for several weeks.
DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry is leading an effort to work with numerous agencies, partners and landowners to expand forest buffers along waterways in the commonwealth.
“One of the original purposes for establishing the state forest system and the various bureaus including state parks that today make up DCNR was to protect forestered watersheds that provide clean water,” Dunn said.
Dunn noted that DCNR Bureau of Forestry service foresters located in each of the 20 forest districts statewide can assist landowners with information about planting buffers.
Forest buffers along stream banks provide critical barriers between polluting landscapes and receiving waterways. Properly planted and maintained, streamside tree and shrub plantings filter the runoff of sediments and the fertilizers that are applied to lawns and crops; control erosion; improve water quality; reduce flooding; cool stream temperatures; and improve fish habitat.
For more informationa about stream buffers, the Pennsylvania Outdoors Corps or state parks and forests, visit the DCNR website at www.dcnr.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Novak, DCNR, 717.579.5177
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