Up With Trees helps McAlester

Saturday, March 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The arrival of spring shows off the beauty of trees in bud, and what a difference they make in our surroundings. The city of McAlester knows that well, having lost hundreds of trees in last winter's ice storms. But thanks to the volunteer efforts of good neighbors, some new trees will soon take root.

Tulsa's 'Up With Trees' is celebrating its 25th year of planting trees along the city's expressways and major streets. Donations from businesses and individuals have planted some 12,000 trees since 1976, tended by volunteers. Over the weekend, 'Up With Trees' traveled a bit farther, to McAlester, where winter ice storms damaged or destroyed some 5,000 trees all over town. Jim Dunn, President of Mill Creek Lumber says, "in terms of time, it will probably take ten to 15 years to get it back into the same posture and status they had before the ice storm. And it's not just McAlester. It's all over the southeastern part of the state."

Mill Creek Lumber joined forces with 'Up With Trees' and Rotary Club of Tulsa to plant some 40 new trees in McAlester's Rotary Park. The effort also received a boost from Rotary Clubs of Omaha, Nebraska, where 'Up With Trees' planted trees after ice storms two years ago. 'Up With Trees' volunteer, Marke Crouch says "we took 105 trees and 30 people and planted trees there to help their storms, so in return, they sent us some money towards our storm." Dunn says McAlester has organized a plan to maintain the new trees, and the city is grateful to have them. It's hoped this won't be the only trip to reforest. "This is the first of probably some annual plantings we'll be doing down there." 'Up With Trees' hopes others will consider donating trees in McAlester and other places that lose something so important to all of us. "Trees really, really, really improve life everywhere, and people are devastated by the damage, so we are trying to do our little part to help them."

The load of trees arrived in McAlester Friday evening. Trees were planted Saturday.