By Dave Gibson
In recognition of Arbor and Earth Days, volunteers from the Youth Ed-Venture and Nature Network in Albany recently joined forces with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to plant several hundred trees near the Hudson River north of Lake Luzerne.
This stewardship project was supervised by NYS DEC Forest Rangers Charles Kabrehl and Evan Donegan in coordination with DEC foresters in order to stabilize the environment, prevent soil erosion and improve the aesthetic appearance of a popular, heavily used recreation area of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Potted and bare root trees were provided by the DEC Saratoga Tree Nursery directed by forester David Lee.
The Youth Ed-Venture and Nature Network recruited 20 youthful volunteers, parents and grandparents to help. The Network was organized by the late Brother Yusuf Burgess to transform urban youth through the power of nature and outdoor experience. Brother Yusuf passed away in December. He led a youth group to this area to plant trees in 2012. Adirondack Wild was one of many groups with whom Brother Yusuf had interacted to engage young people in outdoor educational adventure, or what his Network dubbed Ed-Ventures.
The Network today is led by Director Jaimz Edwards, Jr. Joining Jaimz and the teenagers in tree planting this year were Cherrie Burgess, president of the Network and Lisa Feaster, president of Friends of Tivoli Preserve, among others.
“I felt this year’s Arbor Day service project was successfully carried out in memory of Yusuf and all that he accomplished,” said Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson. Last year, Adirondack Wild and other members of New York’s Wilderness 50th Steering Committee presented Yusuf with a Wilderness Stewardship Award.
“I was so happy that Yusuf’s wife Cherrie and great friend Jaimz led and participated in this year’s work. The DEC Forest Rangers were terrific teachers and role models. As a result, the young people learned a lot, got their hands dirty, stretched their muscles, and worked very hard in planting and watering these trees. The trees will grow tall and strong, as a living, green reminder of the power of our connections to the natural world, and of our responsibilities to be good stewards of our Forest Preserve. “
“These kids from Albany worked so hard they reminded me that the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve is as much theirs to own, enjoy and take care of as it is mine or yours,” Gibson added.
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is a not-for-profit, membership organization which advances New York's "forever wild" legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promotes public and private land stewardship consistent with wild land values. The Arbor Day tree planting is a part of the group’s Educating for the Wild program arena.
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