Living History Park 'branches out' in wildlife week celebration

Plans are coming together for a celebration in a couple of weeks of flora, fauna and their fans, with Living History Park as the setting for "Branching Out for Wildlife."

Free trees - dogwood, beech or sugar maple - will be given out to the event's first 200 participants.

Organizers of the March 23 gathering, in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of National Wildlife Week, are still in recruitment mode, said Cheri Haughey, a volunteer with the park.

"We are basically reaching out to anyone that has anything to do with trees," she said, noting that hopes are for more presenters to talk to the general public and offer hands-on demonstrations.

"So far, anybody that I've contacted or talked to has been very positive and willing to help and very supportive. It's been wonderful to work with the community on this one."

The celebratory week is March 18 to 24, and a goal of the National Wildlife Federation is to plant 75,000 trees nationwide to mark the anniversary, according to a promotional announcement.

It noted, "More than 100 events are already being planned across the country, including several in the New York metro and New Jersey areas in an effort to restore wildlife habitat destroyed by Superstorm Sandy last year."

Lynn Thompson, chairman of the park, noted that the park has National Wildlife Habitat status, and approval for the North Augusta event came relatively recently.

"She's really done a good job of getting people to come and show up - people that have committed for this - and there's something for everybody."

Wildlife exhibits are part of the plan, along with visits from Smokey the Bear, a beekeeper, Audubon Society members and a tree-climbing group.

Details on the North Augusta gathering are available from Haughey at chaughey1818@att.net or 349-7245. The park is at 299 West Spring Grove Avenue.