The Friends of the Mad River, a local watershed conservation organization, will continue riparian reforestation efforts along the Mad River this year with a number of tree planting projects. The organization secured funding for the projects from the United States Forest Service as well as donated plants from the Intervale Conservation Nursery and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The group is organizing volunteer labor to plant the native trees and shrubs. In addition, local artist and FMR board member Jeannie Sargent has designed blank greeting cards showcasing local native riverside plants; the cards are offered for sale at local retailers and all profits will go toward the reforestation effort.

The five planting sites are all located in Waitsfield. Trees and shrubs will be planted at the Lareau Farm Inn as well as on adjoining land owned by Kinny Perot. Perot has conserved the river corridor on her property to protect it from encroachment by future development. The Lareau Farm Inn sustained damage during Tropical Storm Irene and the narrow strip of land between the river and the business is at risk for erosion damage.

Local farmers Doug Turner and Elwin Neill have requested that shrubs be planted on their land along the river in a couple areas that were damaged during Irene. The farmers have completed extensive recovery efforts, filling the gouged farm fields and armoring the riverbanks. They would like to re-establish vegetation in these areas in an effort to minimize erosion during future flood events.

Wrenn Compere will also host a planting project on her land located downstream from the covered bridge in Waitsfield. Six hundred trees were planted on a portion of the property last spring and are thriving despite the gravelly, harsh soil left behind after Irene recovery efforts.

Volunteer crews from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Green Mountain Valley School will assist with planting. Volunteers are encouraged to attend a public volunteer day on Saturday, May 4, at 9 a.m. Follow the signs from the covered bridge in Waitsfield. For more information call Caitrin Noel at (802) 279-1281.