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Community invited to celebrate Earth Day

Tree storyboards unveiled along greenway

POSTED: April 19, 2013 12:27 a.m.

The Forsyth County Master Naturalists will observe Earth Day on Saturday with native trees.

The organization will be at the Big Creek Greenway’s Fowler Park Trailhead celebrating the first of what it hopes will be many informational storyboards along the popular path.

“We have installed eight signs for eight different trees, as well as an introductory sign basically telling people to keep a look out,” said Bill Roper, co-chair of the tree storyboard sign committee. “We’ll do the same thing farther south, all the way to the McFarland Trailhead.

“It’s going to take time. We’re doing it a little at a time because we need to get donations to fund it.”

Heather Kolich, agriculture program assistant with the Forsyth County Extension Service, said there are more than 30 master naturalists in the county, all trained by University of Georgia personnel and by local subject matter area experts on topics including conservation, environmental stewardship and water quality.

The storyboards will identify native trees that have historic significance in the county.

“They were either used by Native Americans for their fruit or wood products and used by native wildlife by providing food nesting materials,” she said. “The storyboard is the second major project they’ve done in the county.”

The naturalists’ first project was putting up birdhouses along the greenway. Since then, Kolich said, they’ve had “a number of bluebirds move in.”

Roper said the organization’s initiatives have been based on working with different schools to gauge interest. Each sign costs $75 to make and must be sponsored by area businesses, since the group receives no county or state funding.

Roper said businesses are recognized at the bottom of each sign as a “thank you.”

Saturday’s ribbon cutting will help inform the public about the organization and the storyboard initiative.

“We believe it’s something they’ll really enjoy and we think the kids will really enjoy it too,” he said. “And Earth Day is the occasion that we’ve chosen to have the ribbon cutting.

“Some of our naturalists will be at the greenway and we’ll have some literature there. We’ll have a talk with people about what we’re doing and we’ll wander around with them for a bit so we can show them the signs.”


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