Cary, NC — A land-reclamation project called the Cary Tree Archive hit its one year anniversary on Monday, September 28, 2020.
Creating a Habitat Safe from Future Development
The archive project will transform seven and a half acres from a fielded grassy area to a thriving forest filled with native, old-growth species.
Located across SW Cary Parkway from the Taylor Family YMCA, the land is owned by the Parkway Community homeowners association, and any development of this acreage is prohibited. The Cary Tree Archive has been certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National & North Carolina Wildlife Federations and is entirely planted and maintained by volunteers.
Organizers of the archive consider it to be the most ambitious land-restoration project in the Piedmont.
A segment of the paved White Oak Greenway, owned by the Town of Cary, runs through the archive land as well as White Oak Creek. This greenway segment is also part of the East Coast Greenway a path that will span 3,000 miles when finished, from Maine to Florida.
What’s Being Planted
An estimated 425 native plants will be installed in the archive with preference given to historic or notable tress. These include the Davie Poplar, Angel Oak, Liberty Tree, and Wye Oak. Other favorites for the archive are the tree species under siege like the Hemlocks, Elms, and Chestnuts. Also on the docket of plantings are species of tree that have become endangered — the Dawn Redwood, Longleaf Pine, and the Ben Franklin Tree (Franklinia alatamaha).
Plantings that have taken place throughout the archive’s first year have been carried out by various volunteer groups and by companies who are concerned for the environment.
The very first planting in September 2019 included six Bald Cyress trees and several oak and maple seedlings. Since then, over a dozen plantings have taken place. The latest was on Sunday, September 27, 2020, as community members came together for the final planting of the archive’s 3,150 square foot pollinator garden. The garden, built under the direction of Dr. Richard Carroll, received the North Carolina Native Plant Society’s prestigious B. W. Wells Stewardship Award.
This milestone represents the end of one phase of the garden’s progress, which will, once completed, contribute to the garden’s anticipated 9,000 square feet. It will be filled with native plants that sustain native birds, butterflies, bees and other critical wildlife.
Visit, Volunteer & Learn More on the Archive
Read more on the old growth species that have been planted, the importance of the Longleaf Pine Savannas, and the native fruit and nut orchard that are underway on the Cary Tree Archive website.
The Archive has enjoyed tremendous support from the community, the Town of Cary and from the business and non-profit sector. For those wanting to get involved, contact the man behind it all, George McDowell.
To find and visit the archive, there are specific instructions on where to park and a map on the archive’s access webpage.
Story by Ashley Kairis. Information provided by George McDowell. Planting photos by Lindsey Chester, others from the Cary Tree Archive website.
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