A pair of Chapel Hill residents helped start a regular effort to care for Booker Creek Trail. Now, they’ve built a community of volunteers.
It’s a beautiful fall morning in Chapel Hill, with people gathering along the Booker Creek Trail for the first volunteer trail day of the fall. Dozens of middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults are standing around Adam Smith of the Parks and Recreation Department as he demonstrates the proper ways to plant young trees.
Before long, the trail is bustling with people at work: clearing invasive or dead plants, digging holes for the new trees, making cages to protect them from deer, and more.
In the middle of the action are Neal and Jeanette Bench. Neal is taking questions from the young volunteers about where to find equipment or which trees to grab. Jeanette, meanwhile, is helping coordinate further down the trail and is initialing volunteer hour sheets or attendance slips from participants.
“We have 70 trees to plant today,” describes Neal. “If we get that all planted, that’d be great.”