ODNR celebrates 75th Anniversary with a Ceremonial Tree Planting


By Meladi Brewer


GREENVILLE — A tree planting dedication took place at Shawnee Prairie Preserve Monday just in time for Earth Day.

In celebration of their 75th Anniversary Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) planted a Swamp White Oak at the edge of the Prairie near the Log House. Justin Law, Service Forester for the Division of Forestry with ODNR, addressed all the elected officials and represented groups in attendance thanking them for their support on planting the tree and continuing the growth of forestry in the area.

“1949, the Division of Forestry is one of seven divisions started with ODNR. We manage over 200,000 acres and 24 state forests,” Law said.

The group also assists private landowners with woodland management, and as a Service Forester, Law is fortunate enough to serve landowners in Darke County.

“The tree chosen today is a Swamp White Oak. It is a native tree to Ohio. They can tolerate dry, compacted soils,” Law said. “A lot of time you will see them in urban areas, but they can also thrive in wetter areas because they can tolerate a lot of water.”

Law acknowledged that when the hole for the tree was dug, there was a lot of water pooling in the bottom before the tree was placed.

“This area was flooded a couple of weeks ago I think with all the rain, and I can’t think of a better tree,” Law said.

The tree will also provide a viable source of food for the wildlife in the are by supplying the most digestible and power acorns. Law said earlier that morning they were talking about a true White Oak up by the statue that measures 59 inches in diameter. The tree is predicted to be over 200 years old, and they would like to see the new one grow to be just as big one day.

“The addition of this Swamp White will be fantastic, as Law mentioned we have many other large ancient Oaks here. Putting in a species that is going to be here much longer than any of us, no offense to anybody, will be a great addition to the area,” Robb Clifford, Director of the Darke County Parks District, said.

Clifford said the park is frequently visited throughout the year as they host community events, school children, and have the parks open to the public to enjoy the trailers. The tree will be highly viable, as visitors are out enjoying the trails. A plaque commemorating the tree will identify the tree as it is, and Clifford said the parks are please to have partnered with everyone at Darke County Soil & Water and ODNR to continue the growth and expansion by planting one tree at a time.

“Planting trees and forest land is very important to all Ohioans, and with today being Earth Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ODNR’s 75th Anniversary than planting a tree here at Shawnee Prairie,” Law said.

For more information regarding ODNR, visit ohiodnr.gov/.

For more information on Darke County Soil & Water, visit www.darkeswcd.com/.

For more information on Shawnee Prairie or the Darke County Parks, visit www.darkecountyparks.org/.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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