Volunteers join Nansemond Indian Tribe to preserve nature

Author: James W. Robinson
Source: Visit Site
Volunteers join Nansemond Indian Tribe to preserve nature

Suffolk Va. –Friday afternoon, Suffolk volunteers and the Nansemond Indian Tribe unite to heal the land from non-indigenous plant species.

In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Department of Forestry, the tribe held their first Mattanock Town Tree Planting event on Friday, March 1, at 1001 Pembroke Ln. Part of a two-day series (also held Saturday, March 2), volunteers alongside both CBF and DOF officials worked with the tribe to plant various trees native to the area’s forest, such as black gum, witch hazel, hackberry, and more. Nansemond Indian Nation Chief Keith Anderson said it was an “amazing feeling” to see everyone come together to help restore the area’s forestry.

“We’re definitely blessed to have this, especially to do this along with community partners and citizens throughout Hampton Roads,” Anderson said.

CBF Restoration Coordinationor Kati Grigsby said it was a “major honor” to be invited to the planting and be part of the tribe’s journey of reconnecting their people with the local waterways. Grigsby talked about the results they hope to see from the planting.

“We’re hoping to have a canopy that actually will shade out the invasive species and then also root systems that will outcompete the invasive species root systems as well,” Grigsby said.

Grigsby also noted that rare sugar maple seedlings were found inside the footprint of the planting and that the Elizabeth River Project, Nansemond River Preservation Alliance and Virginia Tech Agricultural Research Extension Center are “babysitting” these seedlings until their planting later in the fall. CBF Virginia Executive Director Chris Moore also expressed how great the tribe’s work is in helping restore the area’s land.

“Even where we’re standing right now, you couldn’t walk through just a very short time ago because it was filled with invasive species. All these volunteers, all the folks from the tribe, all the partners are out here planting native species again, and so you’re going to see a huge difference in what this place looks like in a very short period of time,” Moore said.

Virginia Department of Forestry Urban and Community Delaney Long, who helped demonstrate the planting process for volunteers, says she felt “energized” seeing the turnout of volunteers helping with land restoration.

“So many people came out to help today,” Long said. “Seeing the site this morning when we got here to set up, it was hard to picture having a lot of people out here, putting trees in the ground, and maybe what this was going to turn into eventually, and now that everyone is here and excited and everyone’s got a tree in their hand, it is a little easier to just visualize the mature, healthy forest that this is going to be and what it can provide for this community.”

Finally, Anderson expressed his gratitude to everyone who came out for the tribe’s first planting.

“Just eternally grateful for the sincerity and support and just the desire that we’re doing this as a kinship,” Anderson said. “It’s not just about the tribe, but about building community relationships.”

Read more at: https://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2024/03/07/volunteers-join-nansemond-indian-tribe-to-preserve-nature/