Whitwell Middle students to take part in historic Arbor Day tree planting event on Tuesday

Students at Whitwell Middle School are set to take part in a special tree planting event centered around the annual TMA/OSM Arbor Day events this year with the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation (CCWF) on Tuesday, April 10th.

CCWF President Barry Thacker, PE and board member Carol Moore recently met with Whitwell Middle Assistant Principal, Dr. Joshua Holtcamp, 8th-grade teacher Brady Rorex, and Barry Thacker, in order to plan the event. Also in attendance was Chico Higgins with Lexington Coal/TCC.

The school, which received seeds and seedlings ahead of the event, will be transplanting those seedlings and new seedlings they’ve grown in their classrooms to the Arbor Day planting site — a reclaimed mine site of Lexington Coal/TCC near Whitwell.

L-R: Carol Moore (CCWF board member), Chico Higgins (Lexington Coal/TCC), Dr. Joshua Holtcamp (Whitwell Middle Assitant Principal), Brady Rorex, (Whitwell Middle teacher), and Barry Thacker, PE (CCWF President)… Photo: Courtesy CCWF Website

Other than the educational opportunity this affords students by practicing good stewardship of Mother Nature and celebrating Arbor Day, this also provides an educational visit to a reclaimed mine site showing how industry and government can work together.

Maybe even more notable is that students were provided with pure American chestnut seeds and seedlings. These young seedlings along with more potted blight-resistant American Chestnut hybrids and a variety of other hardwood bare-root seedlings will be planted at Tuesday’s event.

The American Chestnut species was devastated by the chestnut blight, a fungal disease, in the early 1900s. It’s estimated that between 3 and 4 billion American Chestnut trees were destroyed in the first half of the 20th century by blight after its initial discovery in 1904. Prior to this, it was considered one of the most important forest trees throughout its range and was considered the finest species of chestnut trees in the world.

Through a technique called backcrossing being used by The American Chestnut Foundation and efforts by other organizations, these blight-resistant trees are being planted in an attempt to restore the American Chestnut to its original habitat.

Ahead of the planting, the reclaimed mine site has been prepared for planting using the “FRA method” (Forestry Reclamation Approach) and the land is ready for Tuesday’s event.

Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. More information on this event and the organization can be learned on their website at http://www.coalcreekaml.com/.

Lexington Coal Company, LLC (Lexington Coal/TCC) engages in the reclamation and transfer of coal properties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana as per the permits assigned by the United States Bankruptcy Court. The company, through its subsidiary, Lexington Mine Reclamation Services, also offers full service reclamation services for high wall backfilling, hollow fill, pond removal, grading, hydro-seeding, and tree planting needs; contract surface mining services for contour, mountain-top, auger, and high wall mining needs; and commercial excavation, site development, and environmental services. Lexington Coal Company, LLC was incorporated in 2004 and is based in Lexington, Kentucky.


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