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Replant St. Tammany Combines Projects to Maximize Results

Replant St. Tammany Combines Projects to Maximize Results

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today, the tree planting initiative Replant St. Tammany in order to preserve our tree canopy, enhance water quality improvements, increase flood mitigation, and to create eco-corridors and wildlife habitat in our community. Since the start of 2019, two separate plantings of nearly 400 trees of 13 species, have been planted in areas of St. Tammany in separate initiatives, and over 30,000 more trees will be planted by the end of 2019.

“Water quality, flood prevention and preservation of our natural resources, are top priorities in St. Tammany, and we are able to address them all, in varying degrees, through these programs — the Adopt-A-Pond Program and the Tree Bank. This is another example of forward-thinking ideas put into practice, with wide-ranging results,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We also have the benefit of teaching our young people about their own environment and how all of these elements work hand-in-hand to give us our wonderful, natural surroundings, and what they can do in the future to protect our community.”

The St. Tammany Parish Adopt-A-Pond Program kicked off this week. This project enlists St. Tammany Parish Public Schools Junior High and High School STEM students to plant trees in and around Parish-owned and maintained ponds. The students will perform preliminary water quality tests and ecologic assessments in their respective “adopted ponds” before planting and will continue semi-annually to quantify habitat and water quality improvements from the plantings. This program reinforces kids’ love of science, with hands-on experimentation in their own communities, within their own specific scientific habitat, and provides a practical component to learning about St. Tammany’s varied eco-systems. 

“I’m excited that these community partnerships are allowing our students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science projects while also improving the environment of St. Tammany Parish,” said St. Tammany School System Superintendent Trey Folse. “These are real life lessons that students will be able to use far beyond the walls of their classrooms.”

Over 2300 trees will have been planted when the Adopt-A-Pond projects wrap in late February. The project is a collaboration with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System, NOAA SeaGrant Program, the LSU AgCenter Youth Wetlands Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sunbelt Innovative Plastics, and the St. Tammany Parish President’s Office. A total of six ponds will be planted with six schools slated to participate. Boyet Junior High, the first school to “adopt” their pond, planted 325 trees of 13 species in the Meadowlake Pond in the Slidell area.

In early February, 75 young Live Oak trees were planted on Oak Harbor Boulevard in the Slidell area, to replace trees that were removed during a recent elevation project. These plantings were funded through the Tree Bank. The Tree Bank was established specifically to maintain the tree canopy balance in St. Tammany. If trees must be removed during building or infrastructure projects, fees are assessed for the affected canopy and these fees fund the bank.

“The addition of these young Oak trees will grow and enhance this important boulevard,” said Jerry Binder, St. Tammany Parish Councilman District 12. “About 75 Live Oaks were planted, and over time, we can expect to see them produce a beautiful result.”

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