Volunteers needed to help plant native trees in Sperryville for a cleaner Rappahannock River watershed

Linnea Stewart, Tree Planting and Stewardship Coordinator
The Piedmont Environmental Council
lstewart@pecva.org; 540-347-2334, x7053

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

Sperryville, Va. (Oct. 17, 2022) –  The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) is seeking about 30 community volunteers to help plant 330 native trees and shrubs along Kilbys Creek in Sperryville on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and from 1:30 – 4 p.m. The family-friendly planting event will help enhance water quality and wildlife habitat as part of the PEC’s and Friends of the Rappahannock’s (FOR) joint Headwater Stream Initiative. Kilbys Creek joins the Hughes River and continues downstream to its confluence with the Hazel River, which has been found to have impaired water quality. Volunteer activities include scalping (removing grass with a hoe), digging holes, planting, and pounding wooden stakes. The planting will take place at the Lane Property, 87 F.T. Valley Road. Learn more and sign up at pecva.org/trees

“The goal of the Headwater Stream Initiative is to plant native tree and shrub species along waterways (also known as riparian buffers) in the Rappahannock 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 the Chesapeake Bay.”

Tree plantings are rain or shine events, although in the event of dangerous weather, PEC will reschedule. PEC will provide all necessary instruction and 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 Headwater Stream Initiative, PEC and FOR provide free technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor to landowners for the planting of native trees and shrubs in riparian zones in the Rappahannock River watershed in Rappahannock, Culpeper, Greene, Madison, Orange, 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 Headwater Stream Initiative is made possible with funding from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Small Watershed Grant. Partners include the John Marshall and Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Virginia Department of Forestry and the Friends of the Rappahannock.

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 www.pecva.org.