School Seedling Program Application Period Now Open
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery officially kicked off the annual spring seedling sale, which is now open to the public and runs until May 10. Each year, the nursery offers low-cost, New York-grown tree and shrub species for sale to encourage plantings that help conserve New York’s natural resources and foster the next generation of forests.
“Since 1911, the Saratoga Tree Nursery has helped shape the future of New York’s forests by providing seedlings for restoration and conservation plantings,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.“Planting trees helps us all invest in a greener future by providing a renewable resource for wood products, preventing erosion, improving air and water quality, lowering energy needs for heating and cooling, and combating climate change. Trees also provide habitat for native wildlife and increase overall health and well-being.”
DEC’s tree nursery grows more than 50 conifer and hardwood species from local seed sources, creating seedlings well-suited to New York State’s climate. Seedlings are available in bundles of 25 or more, plus there are several mixed species packets for those looking for a variety. Seedlings are a minimum of five inches tall and are one to three years old, depending on the species.
For more information including how to order, visit the Spring Seedling Sale webpage on DEC’s website. Some species sell quickly, so it is recommended to place orders by phone for the most up-to-date availability information.
The seedling sale supports Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State commitment to plant 25 million trees by 2033 to invigorate New York State’s tree planting efforts, advance steps to meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s net-zero goal, and grow the state’s vital forest products industry.
Free Seedlings Available for Youth Education Through the School Seedling Program:
Applications are now being accepted for the nursery’s School Seedling Program. From now until March 29, schools and youth education organizations across New York State may apply to receive up to 50 free tree or shrub seedlings to plant with their students.
The goal of the program is to help instill a sense of environmental stewardship at a young age and set a foundation that will allow students to make informed decisions about the use of natural resources. The program is an excellent tool for educators to use in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards as it provides a hands-on opportunity for students to learn about natural systems and the valuable role that trees play, while building their awareness of conservation issues.
All schools (public, private, nursery, elementary, secondary, vocational, college or university), homeschool groups, and any youth education-based organization may apply, provided trees are planted in New York State. Individual homeschools must apply through a homeschool group, co-op, or other association. Seedlings are two to three years old, approximately four to 12 inches tall, and bare-root. There are three packets available – 50 jack pine, 25 red oak or 30 mixed shrub species good for wildlife habitat – and each school or organization may only receive one packet per year. For more information and to apply online, visit DEC’s website.
For assistance or questions, contact the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery at email@example.com or 518-581-1439.
Note: View video and sound featuring Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery Manager David Lee (MP4, 288 MB).
Photo at top: NYS DEC website photo.