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Elmwood Cemetery beautification becomes project for Rotary

By Staff | Oct 26, 2018

Girl Scouts with Troop 40436 help plant trees at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Elmwood Cemetery was recently the recipient of a helping hand, thanks to the Shepherdstown Rotary Club. Club members and other individuals gathered Saturday morning to plant trees within the cemetery to not only make the area aesthetically pleasing, but to also help reduce storm water runoff.

Steve Campbell, who serves in the role of community service coordinator for the club, said he became aware of the partnership for tree planting with the Cacapon Institute, and felt selecting a location in Shepherdstown to take advantage of that tree planting partnership would be a good idea.

“The majority of the club said to work in Elmwood,” Campbell said.

The group partnered with the Cemetery Board and the Cacapon Institute, a nonprofit watershed-protection organization located in Morgan County.

The Cacapon Institute provided all of the trees planted by the volunteers at Elmwood, as part of a Communi-Tree program. In addition, Tanner Haid, Cacapon Institute’s Urban Watershed Forester, was on site to instruct the volunteers on how to plant the trees.

Shepherd University students Noah Hertert, Lily Kessler and Seone Goode joined in the volunteer efforts at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

The Communi-Tree program promotes the planting of trees on urban lands, with one of its goals being to help protect the area’s water resources by reducing storm-water runoff pollution. Other goals include increasing awareness of local water quality issues, educating the public about the benefits of trees, promoting long-term tree maintenance and encouraging volunteerism.

The volunteers came out in force to help with the project, and included not only members of the Rotary Club and the Elmwood Board, but also Girl Scouts with Troop 40436 and some Shepherd University students who wanted to lend a helping hand.

Noah Hertert, one Shepherd student helping plant, said his teacher had sent out a notice about the event and offered extra credit for students who participated.

Campbell, who had never visited Elmwood Cemetery prior to selecting a location for the tree project, was in awe of the site.

“I was shocked at how big it is. The beautification project can really help make the cemetery more pristine,” Campbell said, mentioning the historical significance of the area made the beautification project even more important.

Elmwood Cemetery was chartered in 1869, celebrating its 150th anniversary next year. Many of its older trees have died over the years, so the planting of new trees is always a priority for the cemetery.

A total 16 trees were planted during Saturday’s event. The varieties included Jefferson Elm, Eastern Hop Hornbeam, Red Maple, Black Gum and Flowering Yoshino Cherry.

Campbell said he hopes to continue with other phases of beautification at Elmwood, and plans to discuss possible activities with the Rotary board.

More information about the Communi-Tree programs and Cacapon Institute can be found at cacaponinstitute.org.