Tree Festival volunteer event to celebrate arboretum accreditation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Figueroa
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The WPAFB Environmental Branch will hold a Tree Festival and Volunteer Workday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 12 to celebrate the Wright Brothers Memorial as an accredited arboretum.

The Wright Brothers Memorial has been awarded a Level I accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and Morton Arboretum, becoming the first accredited Department of Defense arboretum on an active-duty installation.

Level I arboreta are smaller publicly accessible sites with at least 25 species of wood plants, volunteers or paid employees, a governing body and arboretum plan.  

“The original landscaping was designed by Olmsted Landscape Architectural Firm, the same company that designed the landscaping for numerous famous places, including Central Park in New York City,” said Danielle Trevino, a biological scientist with the 88th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Branch.

The Tree Festival and volunteer event is free and open to the public. It will take place at the Wright Brothers Memorial (2380 Memorial Road).

Trevino says visitors can take a guided arboretum tour and help with small autumn tasks to keep the site in great shape for next season. Supplies will be provided. However, volunteering is not required – you can just come out for the tour, she added.

The Wright Brothers Memorial was completed in 1940. Over the years, the trees had aged and WPAFB’s Environmental Branch wanted to make the site sustainable for future generations.

“We started planting various sections of trees, while maintaining the original integrity of the landscape of Olmsted’s designs,” Trevino said. “He believed open park spaces were good for people’s mental and emotional well-being and stressed the importance of communities offering such places for people to relax and enjoy nature.”

Numerous trees have been planted with the help of Fairborn High School students, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and National Park Service. Flowering trees were planted among others to benefit the numerous pollinators, such as insects and birds.

“In the back section of the park, near the Indian mounds, we’ve planted a food forest section to honor the six Adena early Woodland burial mounds,” Trevino said. “These are just a few of the sections of trees we’ve planted.”

According to ArbNet, accreditation is based on self-assessment and documentation of an arboretum’s level of achievement and standards, including number of species, planning, governance, staff or volunteer support, education and public programming, in addition to tree science research and conservation.