By MICHELLE FIRESTONE
Chronicle Staff Writer
WILLIMANTIC â€” Community members are invited to plant trees as part of the 325 Trees/Shrubs Project during a â€śtree planting partyâ€ť on Saturday.
The event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Park, 1105 Main St., Willimantic, and will continue for as long as is necessary. Community members are encouraged to bring shovels, buckets, spades, rakes and heavy-duty gloves to help plant trees.
Faith Kenton, who is involved with The Garden Club of Windham, started the project as part of the townâ€™s 325th anniversary celebration.
The goal is to plant 325 native trees and shrubs in Willimantic over the span of two or three years.
More than 50 trees and shrubs have been planted since April, including many on the greenway river trail off Bridge Street as well as the Whitewater Park there.
Saturday, volunteers will plant a variety of native New England trees, including White Oak, the state tree of Connecticut, American elm trees, sugar maple trees and tulip trees.
According to a press release about the project, the trees, which are being delivered from Prides Corner Farms in Lebanon, will be up to 10 feet high with trunks that are three inches thick. The press release states trees of that size can cost up to $300 each.
Other trees being planted are a lot less expensive.
Volunteers are needed to get the trees in the holes, water them, fill the holes with soil, place soil around the tree base and put mulch down during Saturdayâ€™s event.
The Windham Public Works Department offered to dig the large holes for the trees.
The main supporter of the project is the Savings Institute Foundation, which provided a â€śgenerous grant.â€ť
Other financial supporters include WFSBâ€™s Twenty Towns in Twenty Days series, The Garden Club of Windham, Potter Funeral Home, Willi-mantic Waste Paper Co., Eastern Connecticut State University and several local residents.
Donations can be mailed to The Garden Club of Windham, P.O. Box 773, Willimantic, 06226. Those who donate $100 or more will have their name or the name of someone they wish to honor on a â€śTree of Lifeâ€ť canvas. Community members should email firstname.lastname@example.org for a brochure or call Faith Kenton at 860-456-0817 to ask questions or offer suggestions.