Planting trees, protecting the river | Earth Day 2019

The rain and mud did not stop almost 140 eager volunteers this past Saturday at the Earth Day 2019 event. People of all ages – from brand new Girl Scouts to longtime volunteers – joined in celebrating Earth Day by planting native trees. Together, they planted over 600 trees!

“While planting native trees is usually a beneficial thing for an ecosystem, it is even more important here in CVNP,” said Kevin Gross, Director of Volunteer Services. 

By planting native species of trees here in CVNP, we are helping to restore the environment to a more natural and stable state which will protect the park for generations to come. Native trees protect and stabilize the soil, promotes a diverse and healthy community of wildlife, and helps to limit damaging storm water runoff which contributes to poor water quality in nearby bodies of water.  For CVNP, that means by planting native trees, we are directly making a positive impact on the quality of the Cuyahoga River.

With the help of CVNP volunteers, we continue to make meaningful steps in helping to improve the health of the river and our environment. We are thankful for all of our volunteers who came out on Earth Day! CVNP has over 100 different volunteer roles so there truly is something for everybody. With about 6,000 volunteers a year, the volunteer community is one of the main reasons why CVNP is an incredible place.  

Girl Scouts use their shovels to dig up holes.

Logan Webster (left) and Jacob Boyett (right)

“I’ve been coming out here for the past 3 or 4 years. I started with my mom but now that I’m 16, I’m old enough to start doing this on my own. I’ve always had a passion for the natural world because even when I was an infant, my mom would strap me on her back and we would go hiking through Yellowstone together. So I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors.” -Jacob Boyett

Kelly Fink, left and Jonny Lukins, right

“We’re part of the group Ocean Motion, and we’ve been doing tree planting for about 3 years with CVNP and wanted to continue. Trees do so much… they help our atmosphere, soak in carbon dioxide, and provide homes for animals.  The fact that we’re here to restore it is pretty cool. We get to watch it grow and recover to it’s natural state.” -Kelly Fink & Jonny Lukins

Lou Elsaesser

Lou Elsaesser has been volunteering in CVNP for 10 years. “I just love being outside. I love helping the environment and reestablishing the park the way it should be,” he said.

Kari Suhadolnik and daughter, Skyler

“I feel like we live a priveledged life and I want to make sure my kids give back all the time. It’s good for the Earth.” – Kari Suhadolnik 

Baylee Diedrich (far right) and friends.

“I came out for Earth Day because I love spending time in CVNP and I wanted to give back to a place that I take advantage of almost every weekend. I think it’s important for people to appreciate a beautiful national park we have in our back yards and help it stay beautiful for people to appreciate for the next 100 years.” – Baylee Diedrich