What's with the tubes in the park?
Springfield’s Green Acres along the Rahway River have sprouted hundreds of tubes this summer. Each tube is protecting a young tree or shrub from deer in order to reforest the flood plain around the river.
The Nature Conservancy has a worldwide goal of planting a billion trees. They are acting locally through Sustainable Jersey, to offer grants to reforest a flood plain.
Springfield received a Roots for Rivers grant last year to plant trees in Meisel Avenue Park. Those trees are now emerging from their five-foot-high tubes and their leaves are safely above the reach of deer (mostly!). This year’s grant was to plant and protect 600 trees in the Rahway River flood plain off Morris Avenue at the border with Union. Both grants involved a partnership between Springfield, Union County, and the Rahway River Watershed Association.
Reforestation has multiple benefits that include habitat for wildlife, increasing clean water, improving soil, moderating heat waves and flooding, absorbing carbon dioxide, and providing a cool, quiet, restorative place. Trees’ capacity to absorb and store carbon offers a cheap and natural way to reduce global warming. Recently, scientists used satellite imagery and data on rainfall to analyze Earth’s surface and estimate the area that could support trees. After subtracting farmland and urban areas about 2 billion acres are left that could be forested, but aren’t. If this area were reforested, the trees could absorb much of the excess carbon dioxide that our burning of fossil fuels has put into the air.
Roots for Rivers grants are a chance to think global and act local for a sustainable future.