After Superstorm Sandy’s winds and brackish surge felled ten trees in Quinnipiac River Park, new arrivals have taken their place and should fare better in the next flood.
Thanks go to humans, in particular to Common Ground High School students who spent a half day of their day of service on Wednesday planting hardier replacement varieties.
Physics and chemistry teacher Michael Horbachuk brought freshman Lincoln Garritt Wilson, Jr. and 18 other guidance students to the park on Front Street along the banks of the Quinnipiac in Fair haven early Wednesday morning.
Under the supervision of Urban Resources Initiative‘s Chris Ozyck, they replaced the trees, mostly pears, that had been uprooted or damaged beyond salvage. In their place went two pin oaks, one red oak, and two American lindens.
The pears trees are more ornamental and their demise was no surprise, Ozyck said. He termed them a kind of “weed” that lacked the deeper root systems and durability of the new arrivals. They were the tree du jour in the 1980s, he said, and many do not make it for the long term.
The oaks and linden, by contrast, are what Ozyck called “genuine forest trees. “They provide shade and lots more “community benefit.”
The latter was already on display Wednesday through the kids’ work, which was the fulfillment of their day of service before the Thanksgiving break.
Lincoln, who lives on nearby Grafton Street, said that this was his first experience planting a tree.
“It felt like you accomplished something,” he said.
Horbachuk pointed out to Lincoln the water line, showing how far across the park’s grass the waters had spread. He said Ozyck might ask the crew back to the park in the spring. Their task then: to replace some of the smaller trees that survived the storm upright but yet may succumb to the salt in the water that flooded their base.