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Wadena plants trees for recovery, education and commemoration

Photo by Brian Hansel Bob Zosel,left, Mike Pete, Diane Anderson and Ron Buchholz plant a hybrid elm at BN Park Thursday as part of a Wadena Parks Foundation effort to re-forest Wadena. The four park advisory board members also planted honey locust and burr oak trees. All of the trees were purchased from Pete's Nursery in Wadena.

Wadena appreciates trees: that much was evident in several planting events in the week around Arbor Day.

During April's regular city council meeting, Public Works Director Ron Bucholz announced that Wadena was named a "Tree City USA" again this year.

Arbor Day was observed April 27, a few days after Earth Day which was April 22.

The city of Wadena Parks Advisory Board planted trees at Burlington Northern Park in the early evening April 26.

On Monday, three groups of teacher Lori Grendahl's Wadena-Deer Creek sixth graders planted white sprice seedlings in Tapley Park with the help of Anne Oldakowski of the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

Oldkowski said the trees - about 75 of them - were to replace those lost in the tornado.

The first group of kids planted in the northwest corner near where high schooler Adam Leverson had done his Eagle Scout project this past winter.

The second group worked close to the entrance of the Tapley trail.

The third group planted on the south side by the dirt road.

A little over half of Wadena's trees lost in the 2010 tornado have been replaced.

According to Oldakowski, the SWCD estimates that over 10,000 trees were lost in Wadena because of the tornado. The number does not include the trees lost in the east Otter Tail tornado.

Many of those 10,000 trees were from Tapley Park and the Wadena County fairgrounds area.

Oldakowski said about 4,800 trees were replaced last year, with about 250 landowners.

This year so far, about 550 have been planted, with about 50 landowners.

The school and the fairgrounds, along with some boulevards, are still to be done this fall.

On Tuesday, May 1, two rows of spruce were planted behind the Freshwater Education District building on the north side of U.S. Highway 10.

East Wadena was not affected by the 2010 EF4 tornado, but Oldakowski said the trees would create a beneficial windbreak reducing erosion and preventing some debris from being blown across the highway from the north winds.

Ted Winkels of the Freshwater Education District said the planting project was also made possible by Nite Owl allowing them to plant trees on part of their property.

He said they will grow for 100 years and hoped they would be 100 feet tall.

At the Freshwater site, Oldakowski said the SWCD is doing a cost sharing program to help landowners who have erosion problems.

The little evergreens behind Freshwater won't be so little in a few years, so the two rows were planted 20 feet apart in a zigzag pattern to make an effective windbreak while giving the plants enough space.

"These are the nicest trees I've ever seen," Winkels said.

M State scheduled a tree-planting ceremony for May 5 to honor the late Dick Bentrup for his support of education.

A memorial dedication for Bob Zosel, Sr. will be held today at 3 p.m. at Black's Grove park.

When he was alive, Zosel planted many of the Black's Grove trees still standing now.