From the Bennington Banner
Thursday April 19, 2012; Keith Whitcomb Jr.
ARLINGTON -- In order to get funding to plant trees along parts of the Battenkill and address erosion from Tropical Storm Irene, the National Forest Foundation is asking the public to get busy clicking.
Greg Peters, of the foundation, said the Green Mountain National Forest has entered into an online contest hosted by Odwalla, a beverage company based in Santa Cruz, Calif., which for the past five years had made tree-related donations based on the results of an online voting process.
Each year Odwalla has donated $450,000, awarded as $10,000 grants. Peters said that until this year it was only open to state forest and other groups, but Odwalla has expanded to allow national forests to enter. He said the Green Mountain National Forest was invited to participate.
During the months of April and May, people can log onto www.odwalla.com/plantatree and vote for the organization of their choice. The vote costs nothing and no donation is requested. The top 10 vote-getters will receive a grant, according to Peters.
He said the tree planting will be on the west side of the Battenkill as well as parts of the Upper White River. The trees will be between 4 and 5 feet high and cost about $4 each, Peters said. This is larger than the average tree planting, which involves seedlings of about five inches in height. The idea is to get a jump on the growth and keep the banks from washing away and to trap sediment.
The species of tree will be determined based on the exact area, he said. Volunteers will do the actual planting, provided funding can come through. Peters said the project itself is larger than $10,000, and more funding is being sought. He said the U.S. Forest Service has limited funds for reforestation projects, most having gone to repair roads damaged by Irene. He said the planting will not occur if funding cannot be secured, but if it can, the trees are expected to go in the fall of this year.
The National Forest Foundation is an independent non-profit created by Congress decades ago to assist the Forest Service in such a fashion, said Peters.