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Shady days to come: 275 trees planted at Jackson Township golf course-turned-park

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

Rhonda Harrison, watching Little Creek Community Park evolve from a golf course, felt something was missing.

“To me, a park has trees,” she said.

Harrison, of Jackson Township, a steward in the Penn State Extension Master Watershed program, took her idea to program coordinator Jodi Sulpizio. From there, the project grew.

The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards partnered with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and received full funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to plant 275 trees at the park.

Jackson Township officials welcomed the project, which will work toward reaching York County’s nitrogen-reduction goals.

Master Watershed Steward Rhonda Harrison, of Jackson Township, pounds a stabilizing stake into the ground after planting a tree as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay partners with the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards program to plant 275 native trees at Little Creek Community Park in Jackson Township, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Harrison spearheaded this particular project when she saw a need for trees at the park. Penn State Exension Master Watershed Steward Coordinator Jodi Sulpizio then reached out to the township who agreed to participate. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“We have to remove 4 million pounds of nitrogen from entering the streams in the county by 2025,” Sulpizio said. “That’s part of Pennsylvania’s Watershed Implementation Plan."

She said working with municipalities will help reach that goal and encouraged landowners to reach out to the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards or the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to discuss possibilities.

“We can find funding to get trees,” she said.

Master Watershed Stewards work with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards program to plant 275 native trees at Little Creek Community Park in Jackson Township, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. The project was fully funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The more than 25 native tree and shrub varieties planted in the park are expected to enhance the native meadow, support woodland animals, provide fruits and nuts for park visitors and reduce the amount of runoff that enters the creek.

“The trees will help to stabilize the stream bank to help prevent erosion and sediments from washing into the creek,” Sulpizio said.

Currently, York County has about 86 Master Watershed Stewards. A virtual training program for would-be stewards will be offered in the spring. To learn more about becoming a Master Watershed Steward, go to: https://extension.psu.edu/programs/watershed-stewards.