The TWRA joined several partners at the Forks of the River WMA and the Kyker Bottoms Refuge for a tree planting field day funded through the Foothills Land Conservancy by a grant from the Alcoa Foundation and the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Program.
Elise Eustace of the FLC initiated the project with the TWRA, which will ultimately plant 3,200 native trees and shrubs as part of an East Tennessee restoration initiative to enhance the regional environment.
Nearly 800 soft mast trees and shrubs have been planted by TWRA wildlife manager Bill Smith and technician Gary Bradley, as well as volunteer employees from Knox and Blount Alcoa. The effort focused on placing tree and shrub species beneficial to wildlife including flowering dogwood, persimmon, and black cherry around the edge of agricultural plantings to provide a soft-mast food source for wildlife. Many of these species are also aesthetically pleasing, which is important as these areas receive high public visitation.
There are plans to plant another 1,000 trees on the Foothills WMA in the near future.
“FLC is thrilled to be working with Alcoa Foundation and American Forests on this restoration project, “ says Foothills Land Conservancy’s Executive Director, Bill Clabough. “Partnerships like this one allow us to meet our goals of creating healthy ecosystems for the benefit of local residents, as well as the other species that live there.”
Over the last three years, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests have worked to enhance, beautify, restore and protect forests in 15 countries and nine U.S. states through 39 unique projects. The Partnership for Trees Program is part of Alcoa Foundation’s commitment to plant 10 million trees by 2020, with five million trees planted to date. Each year, the Alcoa Foundation devotes roughly one-third of their total funding towards initiatives that reduce the use of natural resources, recycle materials and replenish our planet.
Since 1990, American Forests Global ReLeaf has completed restoration work in all 50 states and 44 countries around the world, helping to plant more than 44 million trees in areas of crucial need. These projects have restored forest ecosystems for a myriad of critical issues including wildlife habitat improvement, responses to wildfire and other threats, water resource protection and carbon offsets benefits. Through local partnerships, American Forests is able to involve individuals, organizations, agencies and corporations in tree planting projects that restore local and global ecosystems.
More information can be found on American Forests Global ReLeaf and the Alcoa Foundation at www.americanforests.org. and www.alcoa.com.