• Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program to host tree care and planting classes in Sitka

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

The Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program, in partnership with Sitka Tree and Landscape Committee, is coordinating three classes on tree health care and planting in Sitka. The classes are open to the public at no charge. Sign-up beforehand is not required. The schedule is as follows:

  • Diagnosing Tree Health Problems
    Monday, June 3, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Bob Gorman, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka Office
    Natural Resources & Community Development Faculty
    Learn to observe signs and symptoms and to gather information about the biological, environmental, and cultural factors that affect a tree’s health.
  • Tree Selection, Planting, & Care
    Tuesday, June 4, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Patricia Joyner, Alaska Division of Forestry
    Community Forestry Program Manager and certified arborist
    Learn to select the right site, choose a high quality tree, and plant and maintain it.
  • Plant a Tree
    Wednesday, June 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    Patricia Joyner
    Help plant trees in a city park. Apply what you learned in Wednesday’s class in the real world.

The classes will be held at Harrigan Centennial Hall on Monday and Tuesday and will meet at Centennial Hall on Wednesday before going to Sealing Cove for a tree planting. For information, contact the Division of Forestry at patricia.joyner@alaska.gov, 907-269-8465, or Lynne Brandon, Sitka Parks and Recreation, at 747-1852.

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• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative to host public fruit tree planting party on April 23

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will host a public fruit tree planting event starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. The first tree planted will be dedicated in memory of noted Sitka historian Bob DeArmond, who was 99 when he passed away on Nov. 26, 2010.

The plan on April 23, is for volunteers to plant a few fruit trees in front of the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center (tools and snacks will be provided). The volunteers then will move on to plant trees at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, a communal garden run by the Sitka Local Foods Network located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. Other planting locations on Saturday include the Betty Eliason Child Care Center, KCAW-Raven Radio and either Sealing Cove or Pacific High School. A total of 22 trees will be planted on Saturday.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative hopes to plant 200 apple, crabapple or cherry trees in Sitka before the next Sitka Health Summit on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011. This will be the first public planting of fruit trees since the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, when the project started. Several individuals, families and businesses around Sitka also have ordered fruit trees to plant this year.

For more information about the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative or the Sitka Local Foods Network, contact Doug Osborne at 747-3752 or Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.