VALPARAISO | The emerald ash borer has done its damage, and now the students at Parkview Elementary School are going to help replace the dead trees in the Miller Woods area of Kirchhoff Park on Wednesday.

As part of National NeighborWoods month, the youngsters will plant 18 new trees of a variety of native species. That will bring the total planted in the park to 64. The new trees will include Kentucky coffee trees, redbuds, yellowwoods, American beech, American plum and serviceberry.

"A local saw mill is harvesting the damaged ash trees, making use of the timber in exchange for their services in removing the affected trees," city Horticulture Superintendent Steve Martinson said. "This is a good project. The logs went to a good use, and that saved us a heck of a lot of money. This is a good example of putting the woods back the way it was."

Martinson said Kirchhoff is the oldest park in the city and the planting will restore it to the kind of trees that were in the original park.

The planting will be done by the youngsters in Lori Tonne's fifth-grade class at Parkview. Before they take shovels in hand, they will get a presentation from Talltree Arboretum on non-native insects like the ash borer and why they damage the trees. They also will learn about the native tree species and how they are more resistant to invaders.

The new trees were bought with a grant from the CSX Railroad Trees for Tracks Program and the Alliance for Community Trees. The volunteers from the city's Shade Brigade will be assisting the youngsters along with the parks staff. Over the past two years, the Shade Brigade volunteers have planted more than 200 trees throughout the city.

To learn more about the Shade Brigade, go to valpo.us/trees.

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