Every year the NFL has a week-long gala set of events for its annual Super Bowl, and it’s often referred to as “Super Bowl Week.” For the Fort McCoy Forestry Program, the week around Arbor Day is “Arbor Day Week.”
That week of Arbor Day often not only includes the Fort McCoy Arbor Day observance and tree planting where hundreds of trees are planted on the cantonment area, but also several other community-based tree planting events at a pre-determined area on post.
For 2022, in addition to Arbor Day on April 29, there were tree planting events in Training Areas A-4, B-5, and B-9 on South Post at Fort McCoy. During each of those events, dozens of youth participated along with many adults.
“All together this year, we planted more than 12,000 trees,” said Forester Charles Mentzel with the Forestry Office of the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch, who organized the events with support from Forestry Technicians Tim Parry and Nick Randall. “These included 9,000 red pine trees and 3,000 jack pine trees in all four locations.”
Mentzel said the massive tree planting effort is a regular thing.
“Planting thousands of new trees is an effort that is repeated every year on post,” Mentzel said. “Fort McCoy has more than 46,000 acres of forested land managed by the Forestry Office, and it’s important to maintain those forested areas.”
Mentzel explained why Training Area B-05, for example, was selected for tree planting.
“We want that location to have trees as a screen to the interstate and the training area complex,” Mentzel said. “
The first tree planting took place on April 23. This event included Boy Scouts with Tomah (Wis.) Troop 5, West Salem (Wis.) Troop 77, Sparta (Wis.) Pack 67, and Tomah Pack 279. A Facebook post by Tomah Troop 5 said it was “in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day” and that all the troops “helped to plant over 2,000 trees at Fort McCoy.”
The second tree planting event took place on April 26. This included students and staff with the Sparta High Point Charter School.
“We first started planting with High Point of Sparta at least 10 years ago,” Mentzel said. “We only missed planting with them the last two years due to the pandemic. This year, 18 students showed up and planted more than 1,200 red pine trees in Training Area A-4. It was a very cold and windy spring day, but they were successful.”
On April 28, the Tomorrow Rivers Community Virtual School of Amherst Junction, Wis., had more than 60 people supporting planting trees at a South Post Training Area.
“That was also a successful event,” Parry said.
On April 30, the day after Fort McCoy’s Arbor Day observance, dozens of Wisconsin Challenge Academy cadets helped plant trees on South Post. The academy referred to the effort as a community service project, and the cadets planted jack pine trees.
Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.” Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.