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Students Plan A Tree Nursery At NFA Preserve

The Newtown Forest Association (NFA) is working with parent Nancy Dunn and a group of eighth grade students on a science project, the Holcombe Hill Tree Nursery, which will establish a pilot tree nursery behind the Holcombe Hill Preserve.

On October 5 at 10:30 am at the 55 Great Hill Road preserve, the Holcombe Hill Tree Nursery project will see roughly 15 trees planted there. Previously donated saplings will have a chance to grow until they are ready to be transplanted on the NFA’s parcels throughout Newtown.

NFA President Bob Eckenrode said, “[Trees] are a wonderful part of nature that gives back so much to us.” They are all native and include blight-resistant chestnuts from Michigan via a local neighbor, he said.

The tree project is a Lexus Eco Challenge — a program designed by Lexus and Scholastic to educate and empower students to take action to improve the environment, Ms Dunn said via e-mail. Newtown Middle School eighth grade students can participate in either of the two challenges addressing environmental issues related to land, water, air, and climate to receive credit for their eighth grade science project requirement. The team must define an issue, make a plan to address the issue, implement the plan, and report on the results, she said.

The eighth grade students participating in the project are Joshua Dunn, Daniel Grosso, Dylan Sock, Romy Gold, Cassidy Kortze, and Nicole Germak.

According to a recent NFA release, “Trees in our parks, town open spaces and land trust properties, yards, public spaces, streetscapes and our ‘suburban forests’ play a vital role in the health and economic vitality of our community. Trees have a measurable effect on the quality of the air and water where we live; they play a part in affecting the cost of heating and cooling our homes and businesses and enhanced property values.

“Trees add to the desirability of our neighborhoods and our town and help in preserving the scenic and historical value of our agricultural past.”

According to an NFA release, “careful choice and placement of trees helps shade buildings, cool urban heat islands, and minimize conflicts with utilities and other infrastructure. Trees also reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, remove air pollutants, reduce flooding and water pollutants, help raise property values and maintain the rural character of our town.

“Finally, trees are one of the natural elements in our ecosystem that have so many positive benefits for wildlife, air and water quality and enhance the beauty of our rural community.”

The Holcombe Hill Preserve is a good example of a managed wildlife preserve where fields, forests, meadows, and water courses are maintained for wildlife and passive recreation, the NFA release states. Other preserves include the Bruno and Nettleton Preserves under NFA care where trails have been established to view these natural spaces.

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