The community is invited to SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek Field Station for a fall bare-root tree seedling giveaway from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct 28, and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 29.

Attendees are welcome to take as many trees as they can plant and care for. While supplies last, bare-root tree seedlings -- trees with the soil around their roots removed -- will be available for most growing conditions, including species that are suitable for urban street tree planting, species that tolerate wet conditions and species that enjoy large open areas.

This event is offered by Rice Creek’s Canal Forest Restoration Project (CFRP), which seeks to restore native tree species to New York’s canal regions through growing and distributing trees and engaging in public education.

The project’s focal trees, which include members of the white oak group (white, swamp white and burr oak), along with white pine and tupelo, were heavily harvested and/or lost significant habitat during the construction of the Erie Canal, Oswego Canal and other connecting canals and are therefore much rarer to find on the landscape today than they were historically. This is significant because these trees serve as keystone species, supporting hundreds of insect and wildlife species –- orders of magnitude more than non-native counterparts.

Tree planting offers myriad additional benefits to people and the environment: trees provide aesthetic beauty, serve as wind blocks, reduce erosion and stormwater runoff, purify the air, provide shade and natural cooling, and make communities happier and healthier.

Planting long-lived native trees is also one important way to mitigate the climate crisis, since trees capture and store carbon in their trunks and roots during their long lives. All of the CFRP’s focal trees are long-lived. Oaks in particular are champions of longevity in the eastern US by routinely living to be 350-400 years old and with a potential lifespan of up to 900 years.

To learn more about the Canal Forest Restoration Project and ways to get involved or provide support, visit the project webpage.

SUNY Oswego’s Rice Creek Field Station is dedicated to being a living laboratory for the advancement of knowledge through ecological research, education and stewardship of the natural world. Located at 193 Thompson Road in Oswego, Rice Creek is open to the public year-round for trail walking and education programs. For more information, visit the Rice Creek Field Station website.