Kellie McClella, right, and Rudy Jones prepared holes to plant trees at Guthrie Park on Oct. 15, 2021 as part of the 1,000 Trees in 1,000 Days project in Muncie. Photo by Grace McCormick/Ball State Universitu
Kellie McClella, right, and Rudy Jones prepared holes to plant trees at Guthrie Park on Oct. 15, 2021 as part of the 1,000 Trees in 1,000 Days project in Muncie. Photo by Grace McCormick/Ball State Universitu
Grace McCormick, Ball State University for The Star Press

MUNCIE — Muncie Urban Forester Kellie McClellan oversees all the trees growing on Muncie public property, a portfolio of about 13,000 trees around the city. She said her staff has increased its efforts to plant native species and implement proactive approaches to better the local ecosystem in recent years.

The 1,000 Trees in 1,000 Days project, launched by Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour in March 2021, is a city beautification project on which McClellan said Muncie Urban Forestry staff works closely with community groups to plant trees around public parks and along streets.

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The locations were determined by an inventory by Davey Resource Group, which identified more than 2,000 potential planting sites. McClellan said staff members mostly plant native trees, but non-invasive species also are included. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), invasive plants and trees can grow aggressively and starve out native species in the process.

“I’m very excited about (1,000 Trees in 1,000 Days) because it seems like we just cut trees down — we’re more reactive than proactive — so it’s nice that we’re greening the city up,” McClellan said. “It makes me really happy.”

While most of the tree plantings are organized by city officials, McClellan said people looking to plant trees in memory of loved ones or to celebrate special occasions can contribute to the tally of planted trees for the project through the Jim Reese Memo Tree Program, which is coordinated by Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful (MDCB), a nonprofit organization that aims to promote environmentalism among individuals and communities around the City of Muncie.

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