School Seedling Program Application Period Now Open
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the start of the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery annual spring seedling sale, which is open to the public and runs until May 12. Each year, the nursery offers low-cost, New York-grown tree and shrub species for sale to encourage plantings that help conserve the state’s natural resources and foster the next generation of forests.
“Planting trees provides a multitude of environmental, economic, and social benefits,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making them a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Trees lower heating and cooling costs, provide food and shelter for wildlife, improve water quality by filtering runoff, prevent erosion, supply a variety of wood products that support local economies, and increase our overall health and well-being. I encourage everyone to take advantage of our nursery’s locally grown stock for all of your reforestation and conservation planting needs.”
DEC’s tree nursery grows more than 50 conifer and hardwood species from local seed sources, creating seedlings that are well-suited to our state’s climate. They are available in bundles of 25 or more, plus there are several mixed species packets for those looking for a variety. Seedlings are a minimum of five feet tall and are one to three years old depending on the species. For more information including how to order, visit the Spring Seedling Sale webpage on DEC’s website. Some species sell out early, so it is recommended to place orders by phone for the most up-to-date availability information.
Free Seedlings Available for Youth Education Through the School Seedling Program
Applications are now being accepted for the nursery’s School Seedling Program. From now until March 31, schools and youth education organizations across New York State may apply to receive up to 50 free tree or shrub seedlings to plant with their students.
The goal of the program is to help instill a sense of environmental stewardship at a young age and set a foundation that will allow students to make informed decisions about the use of natural resources. The program is an excellent tool for educators to use in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards as it provides a hands-on opportunity for students to learn about natural systems and the valuable role that trees play, while building their awareness of conservation issues.
All schools (public, private, nursery, elementary, secondary, vocational, college or university), homeschool groups, and any youth education-based organization may apply, provided trees are planted within New York State. Individual homeschools must apply through a homeschool group, co-op, or other association. Seedlings are two to three years old, about four inches to 12 inches tall, and bare-root. There are three packets available – 50 white spruce, 25 red oak, or 30 mixed shrub species good for wildlife habitat – and each school or organization may only receive one packet per year. Visit DEC’s website for more information and to apply online. For assistance or questions, contact the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery at [email protected] or 518-581-1439.