March 28, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Johnson Lake Playground Project Receives Free Trees

LEXINGTON, NE – The Johnson Lake Community Playground project was a recipient of ten trees from the Free Trees for Fall Planting program, an effort of the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Community volunteers worked with Jeremy Koch of Natural Escapes of Cozad on November 2, 2022 to plant the tree at the playground site which will be located at East Shore, Johnson Lake Drive 1.

The playground project is a collaborative effort between lake community members, Lexington Community
Foundation, Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation, Johnson Lake Development, Inc., and Crouch Recreation. The project has experienced some delays but is expected to be completed in Spring 2023. The
trees will provide beauty and eventually shade at the project site.

Despite providing a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits, most Nebraska community forests have been in steady and sometimes dramatic decline. Many challenges contribute, including extreme weather, insects, disease and lack of diversity. The Emerald Ash borer is the latest major challenge added to the list.

In an effort to stop this decline and increase community forest resilience, the Free Trees program grants up to 10 high quality trees for tree-related educational events and community celebrations promoting trees and fall planting.

In addition to simply planting more trees, the program goals include increasing appreciation and awareness of the value of community forests in Nebraska. Special emphasis is placed on species diversity and higher impact projects, especially street tree planting and projects in neighborhoods of highest need.

Free Trees for Fall Planting is supported by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Trees for Nebraska Towns Initiative funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Source: Nebraska Regional News