CLAYTON, New York -- (April 29, 2017) The Thousand Island Land Trust hosted the tree planting at Zenda Farms Preserve to celebrate Arbor Day. The event, running for the past five years, relies on community volunteers to plant multiple species of trees including spruce, oak, and of course, sugar maple.

"The event averages 80-90 people, but this year we have record numbers with over 250 people. We planted 150 trees in the past four years. We doubled the amount of trees this year with the amount of participants," said Terra Bach, TILT coordinator of education and outreach.

Sgt. 1st Class Tom Brown, operations NCO in charge for the 925th Contracting Battalion, U.S. Mission and Installation Contracting Command, attended the event with his son, Zane, a first year Lion in Cub Scouts.

"I was a Scout when I was little … I wanted my son to learn valuable life skills," said Brown, who appreciates the values that Scouts teach.

As the largest cohort in the event with 87 Scouts and family members, the Scouts also served as unofficial Fort Drum ambassadors. Brown added that the event is an "excellent opportunity to get involved in the community."

Angel Caskey, the Lion's Den Leader, and mother of two Cub Scouts, Gabriel and James, enjoyed planting trees with her Scouts and sons.

"It's important for kids to learn about the benefits of planting trees for the Earth," she explained.

Scouts from Pack 26 were not the only Fort Drum representation as the Fort Drum Girl Scouts also participated in the event. Other volunteers included Jefferson Community College faculty and students, and members of the local community.

"This is really about getting people on the land and celebrating the importance of Arbor Day," Bach added about the significance of the event. She recalled visiting the farm as a child adding that, "Zenda Farm Preserve has been iconic for the community. TILT has worked to turn Zenda into an education epicenter for the community for educating the next generation."

TILT partners also provided displays, crafts and family activities. The partners included the Minna Anthony Nature Center, Cross Island Farms, Hawn Memorial Library, New York State Zoo, Thousand Island Art Center and Indian River Lakes Conservancy. The Clipper Inn and All Seasons Landscaping sponsored the event, and Subway provided lunch for the participants.

The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from Pack 26 will participate in the District Pinewood Derby on May 6 at Salmon Run Mall. On May 13 Scouts from Troop 26 will celebrate promotions to their next rank at their Scout Camp on Fort Drum.