Five Rivers MetroParks will give away thousands of native tree seedlings to help reforest areas that were damaged during the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes. The giveaway is part of MetroParks’ reforestation initiative, Healing Nature, designed to assist property owners and communities in Montgomery County that were impacted by the tornadoes with tree replacement and habitat restoration.
Community members can pick up the free tree seedlings in the parking lot at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. Seedlings will be distributed in a drive thru-style pick up designed so community members can remain in their vehicles at a safe social distance.
- Friday, Sept. 18 — 3 to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 19 — 8 a.m. to noon
Community members can select up to three seedlings from a selection of 21 native trees. Tree seedlings will come in easy-to-handle containers with directions on how to plant and care for them. MetroParks staff, wearing masks, will be on site to help with tree selection and answer questions. A list of the available tree seedlings, along with information about each species, is available now at metroparks.org/healing-nature.
Trees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The community is asked to reserve tree seedling pick up for those who own, manage or maintain property or natural areas damaged during the tornadoes. The trees are intended to aid in long-term reforestation efforts as the Dayton region continues to recover from the 2019 tornadoes.
“Five Rivers MetroParks has a specific long-term role to play in efforts to recover from the tornadoes, which is restoring lost habitat,” said Becky Benná, Five Rivers MetroParks’ executive director. “An untold number of trees, shrubs and other plants critical to our region’s wildlife and natural heritage were lost during the storms. It’s important we replant in the areas where so many were lost to tornado damage.”
Donations can be made to the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation to support Healing Nature. Funds will be used to help restore lost habitats in tornado-damaged areas, including Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. To make a donation, visit metroparks.org/healing-nature or contact Beth Redden, chief of philanthropy, at 937-275-PARK.
“Trees not only provide habitat for wildlife and places of respite for humans: Trees improve air quality, mitigate stormwater, provide shade and enhance aesthetic beauty, and increase property values,” Benná said. “It’s important we heal the nature that heals our community.”