Great Tree Canopy Comeback
The Great Tree Canopy Comeback (GTCC) began with the mission and focus to restore a canopy that was found to be severely lacking in the Allen County, Fort Wayne & New Haven Parks systems. After approximately 15 years, and the planting of over 2,500 trees across multiple Allen County, Ft. Wayne & New Haven Parks, the GTCC has accomplished that goal.
The GTCC has been so successful in its mission that these Parks Departments have found it increasingly difficult to identify large open spaces that are in need of these large scale plantings. Sustaining this revitalized canopy will continue to be a priority for these Parks Departments.
While the GTCC mission will remain the same, it will begin to evolve in order to address needs in these Parks Departments that have become increasingly more important over the last several years. Because of the rapid infestation of invasive species such as Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, Callery Pear, etc., parks have rapidly lost their woodland understory.
These invasive species grow so quickly that they blanket wooded areas, forming a thick understory canopy. They rapidly out-compete and suppress young, native tree saplings for sunlight and nutrients that are trying to establish on the forest floor. Without this natural tree regeneration, the parks' wooded areas have become out of balance with many older trees, but fewer young trees and saplings. A healthy woodland area consists of trees of all ages. Without this next generation of young trees, the parks' forests are slowly being degraded.
Because of this need, the GTCC is going to shift its focus to forest regeneration in the Allen County, Fort Wayne & New Haven Parks. Future areas such as Deetz Nature Preserve, Fox Island, Franke Park, Shoaff Park, Vesey Park and several others can be targeted for removing these invasive species during this annual event. These projects may last 2-3 years in one area.
The first year consists of invasive species removal with herbicide treatment to the stumps. The second year is a follow-up removal of any new shrubs and existing shrubs that survived, as well as the over-seeding of a native woodland understory mix. The third year would be the planting and introduction of additional trees. Volunteers will be able to help cut and clear invasive species, seed cleared areas, and plant trees, while these Parks Department staffs support the event with herbicide treatment to the stumps and chipping the brush.
So while the annual GTCC event may look different than what it used to, the focus in helping to restore the Allen County, Fort Wayne & New Haven Parks tree canopy remains the same.
The first years of GTCC's new evolution have been a big success! Thank you so much to all the donors, volunteers and staff that made it possible.
Interested in volunteering for this year's GTCC? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!