WELLSBORO - About 500 trees were planted on the Jon Griggs farm in Delmar Township April 27 to launch the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania.

The trees, a mix of oaks, dogwood, maple, sycamore and spruce, were provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The partnership is a collaborative effort across the state portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed with the goal of planting 10 million new trees by 2025.

In the first week, 30 partner groups will plant more than 11,000 trees at 50 locations.

Several people were on hand, including students from Melanie Berndtson’s natural resource management and plant science class at Wellsboro High School, members of the Tiadaghton Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Steve Smith, restoration specialist with DCNR, and Emily Thorpe, student management coordinator with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, showed students how to plant the trees.

The saplings planting on 50 acres of Griggs’ property will serve as a stream buffer under Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, the nation’s largest private-land conservation program.

During his demonstration, Smith showed the students how to protect the newly-planted saplings with a long plastic tube known as a “tree shelter.”

“The shelter protects the trees from deer and meadow voles, so it’s important to get it down into the ground a few inches below so nothing can get to the tree,” he said.

The shelter also acts as a “greenhouse” for the tree, keeping it warm and protected from bad weather, said Thorpe.

The shelter is attached to a support stick with straps, and topped off with a “bird net” to protect the saplings from birds trying to nest in the tube, mainly bluebirds, which can get stuck in the tubes and die.

“This can sometimes end up killing the tree as well,” Thorpe explained.