Known for connecting Maine communities with the beauty, vitality and utility of trees, Project Canopy, the Maine Forest Service’s community tree program, is offering a different type of tree-planting opportunity.
Through the generosity of Dutton’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Morrill, more than 1,000 trees, representing 75 species, are being offered free of charge to municipalities, schools and nonprofit organizations for community planting, according to Project Canopy officials, under the Maine Department of Conservation.
“This donation will allow organizations throughout Maine to plant trees in public places where they otherwise would not,” said Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director. “Towns can plant trees to enhance their downtown, streets, parks and public buildings. Schools can plant them for shade on playgrounds, or to create an educational arboretum. All of the trees, when cared for, will benefit generations to come with their beauty and shade.”
Dutton’s has decided to close operations at the end of the season this year, Santerre said. Rather than wholesaling the remaining stock, the business owners have decided to give back to the communities that over the years have supported their business by donating trees to Project Canopy, she said.
Cities, towns, schools and nonprofit organizations will be eligible to receive free trees for community planting. There is no limit on the number of trees each organization can receive, but recipients will be responsible for picking up their trees, while Dutton’s and Maine Forest Service staff will help load orders, the Project Canopy director said.
Sizes range from 5-gallon shrubs to trees anywhere from 1- to 5-inches caliper, Santerre said. The trees are disease-free, but there will not be any guarantee of survival, she said.
All recipients must first submit an application-registration with Project Canopy, so donations can be tracked and to minimize problems on the distribution dates.
Two distribution dates in September and October will be set aside to pick up trees at Dutton’s Nursery in Morrill.
For smaller communities and organization that may not have the ability to transport the trees, there may be opportunities to consolidate transportation with larger service centers and surrounding Tree City USA communities, Santerre said. Project Canopy will work with organizations to make those connections.
To receive the inventory of trees available, and to register, contact Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 287-4987.
For more information on Project Canopy, visit http://www.projectcanopy.maine.gov.