Soldiers Bring the Muscle
The Hopewell Recreation and Parks Department has celebrated a strong relationship with the Fort Lee Army Base for many years. Many of the base's programs require an element of community service for each unit in the program. Luckily, Recreation and Parks has no shortage of projects that are great for big groups of volunteers. Most recently, active duty students from Fort Lee assisted with a tree planting event at Hopewell High School and Patrick Copeland Elementary School. More than 30 soldiers joined forces with staff from Recreation and Parks, community members, the Hopewell Tree Stewards, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to plant 58 native trees on the two campuses along Whitehill Road. As the new trees mature, they will provide a variety of environmental benefits like producing oxygen, reducing runoff, and establishing wildlife habitat. Another important benefit that the trees will provide is shade, especially for the school's paved surfaces. Paved surfaces and buildings can absorb heat and actually cause temperatures to be higher in urbanized areas, otherwise known as the heat island effect. The heat island effect is detrimental to health and the environment for a number of reasons and this project will help combat those issues. The project was made possible by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Hopewell Restoration Project, a four-year effort to provide green infrastructure throughout Hopewell to increase environmental health. Staff from Hopewell Recreation and Parks used heavy equipment to unload the trees and pre-drill the holes for planting. The soldiers and community volunteers assisted with cleaning out the holes, preparing the root ball, planting, and then staking/chaining each tree for stability. The project is another great example of community partnerships in Hopewell. The Department would like to extend its sincerest thanks to all of the volunteers, especially our active duty service men and women, for their service to our community and to our country!
Learn more about heat islands and their effects on communities: https://www.epa.gov/heatislands#:~:text=Heat%20islands%20are%20urbanized%20areas,as%20forests%20and%20water%20bodies.
Learn more about the Hopewell Restoration Project: https://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/programs-initiatives/virginia/hopewell-restoration-project.html