TERRE HAUTE —
Sheryle Dell and a crew of Terre Haute Parks Department employees shoveled in the dirt as the latest resident of Fairbanks Park started a new life just a few yards from the shimmering bank of the Wabash River.
TREES Inc., a Terre Haute environmental group, provided more than two dozen trees for the park, all of which were planted all along the river bank Tuesday in honor of 2013 The Year of the River.
And these trees will include something extra. Each will include a special code symbol that will allow people to use smart phones to quickly link to information about the tree.
“It’s the new thing,” said Judy Hogan, a member of TREES who was part of the committee that hatched the idea for the planting and for providing instant Internet access to information about each tree.
The 28 trees include several carefully selected by Dell, the city’s urban forester, and the rest of the committee, Hogan said. They include black gum, bald cypress, London plane, river birch, American beech, bur oak, pin oak and chinquapin oak.
The first tree planted Tuesday, which stands near the boat launch, was a London plane, a species well suited for the river bank, Dell said.
The trees were selected for their ability to thrive close to the river, Dell said. “It can be extremely wet or extremely dry,” she said.
None of the trees are flowering trees. All are hardwoods, Hogan said.
Apart from adding to the beauty of the river front in Fairbanks Park, the trees serve several other important purposes, Dell noted. They provide animal habitat, river bank stability and storm water capture, she said.
The codes for the trees will be on posts placed next to each tree. Using a special application or “ap,” the codes will provide links to information about each type of tree. The information is courtesy of Marion Jackson’s book, “The Natural Heritage of Indiana,” published by Indiana University Press, Hogan said.
In addition to Dell, the project committee included TREES members Keith Ruble of the Vigo County Parks Department, Joy Sacopulos, Stephanie Krull of Indiana State University and Eddie Bird of the Terre Haute Parks Department. Other committee members included David Shields, Chad and Stephanie McKay, Jane Morse, Jane Santucci, Mary Harris and Hogan.
The project is a way for TREES to honor 2013 as the Year of the River, Hogan said. The TREES Earth Day committee, headed by Sacopulos, spearheaded the project.
“We just had the right people and the enthusiasm was there,” Hogan said. “It has been great.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org