700 Trees, Three Volunteers, and a Quilt

800 450 Stroud Water Research Center

By Heather Brooks

Stroud Water Research Center facilitates many large-scale watershed restoration projects, helping farmers plant riparian buffers to protect and restore clean water. But farms are not the only places to plant buffers, as a couple in Berks County, Pennsylvania, proved when they planted a “mini-forest” on their property.

Photo of a quilt by Martha Ressler featuring her tree planting volunteers.

Martha Ressler, a fiber artist, found a unique way to express her gratitude: she featured the tree planting volunteers in a quilt.

Jay and Martha Ressler, both artists and nature lovers, have been working hard to make their property bird- and pollinator-friendly. Martha has always loved trees, so when she learned that the definition of a forest is at least one acre of land with trees as the primary vegetation, she decided planting a forest was the next logical step.

The Resslers worked with Rick Hartlieb, assistant district forest manager at William Penn Forest District, to develop plans to plant 700 native tree saplings grown from local seeds. The Stroud Center’s Watershed Restoration Group donated used but sound tree shelters to the project. This was a win for the Ressler’s budget and the environment: the cost of new shelters typically exceeds that of the trees themselves, and reusing shelters helps keep them out of the landfill.

The planting party was planned for April 1.

“I had Boy Scouts lined up, and I was going to make food,” Martha said. “But then this happened,” she said of COVID-19. All of their planters canceled on them — except three.

Following coronavirus prevention protocols, Jay, Martha, and their three friends completed the planting on April 6. The Resslers plan to introduce their forest to the public in a garden tour next year. And Martha, a fiber artist, found a unique way to express her gratitude: she featured the tree planting volunteers in a quilt.

Read more in Berks couple’s forest project expected to yield 700 trees on their property

Photo of Jay and Martha Ressler and their newly-planted riparian buffer.

Jay and Martha Ressler and their newly planted riparian buffer.

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