Saluting Branches will expand the reach of the project beyond the chainsaw with a significant tree planting initiative. “While hazard tree removal and proper pruning will always be part of Saluting Branches, we wanted to leave a legacy,” said Ben Cooper, Saluting Branches Board President. “Our National Cemeteries are memorials to our veterans, but what about those that never came home? We learned that there are 1,589 Vietnam War POWs and MIAs that are still unaccounted for. We will plant a tree to honor each one of these men and women so they and their families know they are never forgotten.”
Planting 1,589 trees is not only an impactful and lasting initiative but also helps expand the capabilities of Saluting Branches volunteers. As the Day of Service continues to grow, there are more non-technical arborists wishing to participate. Last year, several corporations such as Target and UnitedHealth Group, sent dozens of volunteers to assist at Saluting Branches sites and this is expected to increase in the coming years. Expanded tree planting allows for a wider range of volunteers without specialized arboricultural experience to take part in this meaningful day. There is a call for donated trees from nurseries and tree farms to obtain a diverse collection of locally adapted trees for the sites around the country. Anyone with a connection to a tree nursery that can assist in obtaining diverse, healthy tree stock is encouraged to contact the organization.
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