Volunteers Plant Trees to Revive Graveyard Volunteers Plant Trees to Revive Graveyard

SUNY ESF And The Cornell Cooperative Extension Plant 20 Trees To Revive Oakwood.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Most people playing in a graveyard the day before Halloween are hoping to plant a few tricks, but 20 volunteers from the Cornell Cooperative Extension decided to plant trees instead.

Kat Korba, the CCE’s community educator, said SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry donated 20 American Chestnut trees to the cause.

These trees are a part of the ESF American Chestnut Project. ESF students and professors have collaborated to create and distribute a modified American Chestnut tree. The tree was modified to coexist with a fungus that contributed to the blight of trees in 1904.


volunteers planting treed
According to the American Chestnut Foundation, the fungal pathogen that caused the blight of the trees was first detected in New York in 1904.
© 2019 Julia Kelly

Paul Harvey, a member of the Historic Oakwood Cemetery Preservation Association, said Oakwood is the perfect place for the trees to be planted. 

“Here were a lot of old chestnuts at one time and we’re planting new ones,” said Harvey. “It’s kind of like bringing the ghosts of the chestnuts back.”

Harvey hopes the planting of the trees will bring more people into the cemetery. He believes when people see the beauty of the cemetery they will feel just as passionately about its restoration as he does. 

“Projects like these can get more living people in Oakwood,” said Harvey. “We need to get people to see how beautiful it is.”


volunteers gathering in cemetery
About 20 volunteers came to the Oakwood Cemetery to plant the modified American Chestnut trees along the cemetery.
© 2019 Julia Kelly

Harvey said the first thing the Preservation Association needs to do is develop their base. They are trying to raise $5,000 to restore the floor of the chapel in the cemetery. From there, Harvey said they can begin further restoration.

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