Scouts Plant Trees As Roadside Legacy

March 28, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

As cars sped around the Baltimore Beltway yesterday morning, spewing exhaust into the foggy air near Curtis Bay, Bill Kretchiman got his hands dirty trying to make the highway a more beautiful place.

It wasn't easy. Looking up, he saw industrial parks and shipyards. Looking down, he saw shredded newspaper, beer cans and abandoned tires. In the midst of it all, Mr. Kretchiman planted trees.

"I think if we took a bag or a trash can along, we could kill two birds with one stone," said the den leader of Boy Scout troop 1036 in Fort Meade. "But I think in another 10 to 15 years, this will look like a better place."

Mr. Kretchiman joined more than 220 parents and children from northern Anne Arundel County and Brooklyn who fanned out near the Key Bridge to plant thousands of seedlings and saplings of pine, sycamore and white cedar on barren roadside land.

Chaotic groups of children with shovels tromped through mud ** and underbrush, eager to begin their task, for which they would be rewarded with merit badges in forestry and community service.

"I like the part where you dig," said Bryan Floyd, a 9-year-old cub scout from Pasadena, who worked near the Route 10


"Putting the trees in is OK, but I like digging the most."

The volunteers were taking part in Maryland's "Tree-Mendous" program, a state-sponsored effort to plant trees along highways.

In April, volunteers from various community organizations will plant more than 12,000 trees along Route 32 in Odenton and U.S. Route 50 near Annapolis.

"These trees will last the rest of your lives," Jerry Anthony, who volunteers to coordinate county tree-planting efforts, told the scouts in a pep talk at the Key Bridge toll plaza. "Every time you go by here, you will say, 'That's my tree.' "

Mr. Anthony, an Annapolis resident, is called "seedling planter extraordinaire" by the state Department of Natural Resources because he is responsible for the planing of more than 120,000 trees in Anne Arundel County.

"It's not complicated to plant a tree, but you have to do it right," he told the volunteers. "The best survival rate we get is from volunteers. More of your trees live because you want to be here. You want to make a difference in how your highways look."

Many of the scout groups used the event to raise money from contributors who pledged a certain donation per tree.

Many had never planted a tree before. But Charles Kessler, den leader of a Pasadena cub scout troop, said his group had planted 2,000 trees last year.

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