by Nolan Stout

On a warm, sunny Saturday morning, nearly 300 volunteers came out to the Warnersville neighborhood to participate in the annual NeighborWoods “Right Plant, Right Place” tree planting program.

The event was held as a partnership between Greensboro Beautiful, the city of Greensboro and the residents of the Warnersville neighborhood. Volunteers planted 150 trees throughout the community as part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration.

This event was designed to help educate residents about the importance of placing trees in appropriate locations that will not necessitate extensive vegetation management by Duke Energy or other companies. The city selected the locations and types of trees that would most impact the neighborhood.

Durwood Bell, resident and head of the Warnersville Beautification Society, saw the impact this would have on the community.

“It will certainly improve and enhance the looks of the neighborhood,” said Bell. “We’ve got a lot of trees, but we could use more.”

Mayor Nancy Vaughan believes the tree-planting event will be beneficial to not only the Warnersville community, but the city of Greensboro as well.

“Trees, besides contributing to health and aesthetics, make a neighborhood more inviting,” said Vaughan.

Lynne Leonard of Greensboro Beautiful sees this project as important to restoring nature within the city.

“This is just a small part of Greensboro’s long-term reforestation efforts,” said Leonard. “Every year trees are lost to age, development, storm damage, and any number of things.”

In addition to planting new trees, the residents planted trees where others had been removed to restore the tree canopy of Warnersville.

The city helped plan the event to ensure trees would be planted in locations that would not interfere with power lines or other utilities. City Arborist Judson Clinton worked with Duke Energy and 811 – the service that residents call to determine if certain locations are safe for digging.

“I’m the planning force behind the project,” said Clinton. “But Greensboro Beautiful and the residents [of Warnersville] are really the driving force.”

Bell echoed Clinton’s sentiment about the involvement of the community.

“It’s going to be inclusive of the whole neighborhood,” said Bell. “Now some of those houses that didn’t have trees will [now have them].”

The event gave city planners an opportunity to interact with citizens as well.

“You really get a feel for the culture of the neighborhood,” said Clinton. “They love having an aesthetically sound neighborhood here.”

The day got started with volunteers gathering at the Warnersville rec center. Mayor Vaughan made an appearance to read the Arbor Day proclamation.

Carolyn Wright, a resident of the neighborhood, took part in the treeplanting event. She enjoys volunteering and helping out her community.

“This is the only black historical community in the city of Greensboro and I like to represent wherever I can,” said Wright.

James Griffin, resident and Director of the Warnersville Community Coalition, also contributed to the project. Griffin originally became involved with the city when they put in a new sidewalk next to the Warnersville rec center. When Greensboro Beautiful said it wanted to plant trees, he was more than happy to support.

“It almost worked out like a sort of perfect storm,” said Griffin. “They had 150 trees to plant and we’re celebrating our 150th anniversary [of the Warnersville neighborhood].”

Randall Romie of Greensboro Beautiful spoke about how this event stretched beyond the community.

“We have volunteers from all over the city,” said Romie. “It’s wonderful to see the next generation planting trees for the future.”

Groups of students from North Carolina A&T, Bennett College, High Point University and UNC-Greensboro joined in the event to help the neighborhood.

The depth of community involvement was not lost on residents of Warnersville.

“It’s really something to see this many different groups come together like this,” said Griffin.

In her statements before the day got underway, Mayor Vaughan summed up the importance of this event.

“Most people that visit Greensboro assume we’re Greensboro because we’re so green,” said Vaughan. “They don’t know our history. If they want to say it’s because we’re so beautiful, I think we’ll take that.” !