NEW WINDSOR — Jeremy Roop helped his hometown get a little greener a few weeks ago.
Neal Roop said his son has become attached to his work.
Before the 4-year-old drifts off to sleep at night, he asks how "his trees" are growing.
Jeremy could be pointing those trees out to his own children someday, recalling the afternoon he spent carryinga rubber bag full of seedlings and a dibble, or plant
ing bar, taller than he was.
He could tell the story of how he helped plant white pines, red osiers and gray dogwoods at the foot of Church Streeton April 28.
Jeremy and Jason Roop, 11, their parents and their aunt, Susan Haines, planted about 300 trees on that cloudy, cool afternoon.
"We had a great day for planting," said Donna L. Baker, state forester, who planned the project. "The soil was moist from recent rain. The weather was temperate, and we knew the trees would be watered soon."
"Jeremy's trees" number about 6,600. Baker said she hopes they eventually will cover the 14 acres of open space, which will be part of the 134-home Atlee Ridge subdivision, southwest of town.
M. J. Sponseller Inc., a Frederick County development company, had deeded the "unbuildable" flood plain site over to the town.
Once the town owned the land, Green Shores, a state conservation program under the Forestry Division of the Department of Natural Resources, stepped in and financed the planting project.
The department awarded acontract to Paul Maslan, a Baltimore County landscaper. Early in April, Maslan's crew planted about 12 acres with several varieties of trees, leaving the remaining land to the volunteers.
Green Shores' responsibility ended with the planting, although Baker will continue to lend technical advice. The town must maintain the site, mowing and spot spraying with a mild herbicide, wherever necessary, said Baker.
The area was formerly a pasture, where farmers had planted multiflora rose, a shrub once used as a living fence.
"It's an exotic nuisance plant which will spread everywhere and could choke the new trees," said Baker. "It will have to be sprayed until it goes away."
Residents also might wonder about the orange tubes they see on the site, she added. About 400 of the new trees are surrounded by tubex shelters, which keep moisture in and protect the trees from deer, mice and weed encroachment.
"The tubes act like a mini-greenhouse, where trees can grow three times faster," she said.
The town can expect to lose about 25 percent of the seedlings, she said. Those that take root the first year should survive. The trees will shade Little Pipe Creek, which runs on the site, and also will provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
"Maybe the fish will come back," she said. "We know some animals are already starting to move in. We found some ducks hiding in a fallen tree."
Mayor James C. Carlisle said he is pleased with the project and added that the area will become a nice addition to the town.
"I really have to give credit to the mayor and TownCouncil," said Baker. "They thought ahead and instigated this project, not for themselves, but for future generations."