Calling Volunteers: White Post, Berryville tree plantings help make water cleaner in the Potomac watershed

Linnea Stewart, Tree Planting and Stewardship Coordinator
The Piedmont Environmental Council; 540-347-2334, x7053

a woman plants a tree
A volunteer plants a tree. Credit: Hugh Kenny/PEC

White Post & Berryville, Va. (Oct. 17, 2022) – The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) is seeking about 60 community volunteers from Clarke County and surrounding areas to help plant 570 native trees and shrubs at two family-friendly events in October and November. Scheduled at two locations in Clarke County, the tree plantings along Long Branch and Dog Run will help enhance water quality and wildlife habitat as part of the organization’s Potomac Planting Program. Volunteer activities include scalping (removing grass with a hoe), digging holes, planting, and pounding wooden stakes.

About 30 volunteers are needed to plant 270 trees at Long Branch Farm, 830 Long Branch Lane in White Post on October 31. Another 30+ volunteers will plant about 300 trees at Clermont Farm, 151 Clermont Land in Berryville on November 12. Both days have two volunteer shifts: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. The plantings are family-friendly events and volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Learn more and sign up at

“The goal of PEC’s Potomac Planting Program is to plant native tree and shrub species along waterways (also known as riparian buffers) in the Potomac River watershed in order to provide benefits for water, wildlife, and people. These buffers can help reduce erosion and the runoff of sediment and pollutants, improve water quality for aquatic ecosystems and drinking water downstream, and increase food, shelter, and habitat corridors for wildlife,” said Linnea Stewart, PEC’s tree planting and stewardship coordinator. “Volunteers play a pivotal role in achieving these outcomes by lending their hands and time to get plants in the ground. The hard work and generosity of our volunteers supports our mission to improve water quality locally, which ultimately improves the health of Chesapeake Bay.”

Tree plantings are rain or shine events, although, in the event of dangerous weather, PEC will reschedule. PEC will provide all necessary tools for planting, extra water, and snacks. Volunteers are encouraged to wear boots or closed-toe shoes, as well as weather-appropriate clothing that they’re comfortable getting dirty. Volunteers should also bring lunch, bottled water, sunscreen, and bug spray if needed.

Through its Potomac Planting Program, PEC provides free technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor to landowners for the planting of native trees and shrubs in riparian zones in the Potomac River watershed in Clarke, Loudoun and Fauquier counties. The program follows guidelines provided by the Virginia Department of Forestry and other partners. Plantings generally include native hardwood trees and shrubs, as well as species that will provide additional wildlife benefits by bearing nuts and fruits.

The Potomac Planting Program is made possible with funding from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Small Watershed Grant and Virginia Environmental Endowment grant. Partners include the Loudoun, John Marshall, and Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Virginia Department of Forestry and the Goose Creek Association.

Since 1972, The Piedmont Environmental Council has proudly promoted and protected the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont. PEC empowers residents to protect what makes the Piedmont a wonderful place, and works with citizens to conserve land, improve air and water quality and build thriving communities. PEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and accredited land trust. Learn more at