By Judy Francis, District Secretary, Catahoula SWCD
In 2022, the Catahoula Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in east-central Louisiana was awarded a $2,500 Friends of NACD District Grant to have a tree sale in our community. The Catahoula SWCD wanted to hold a tree sale and use it as an opportunity to share with our community the value of trees. Trees clean our air, absorb carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen. Forests help to filter and clean water, and provide critical habitat needed to support wildlife and enhance outdoor recreation. Trees are also aesthetically pleasing, adding value to our homes and land, and supplying us with shade during Louisiana’s hot summers.
Our first tree sale was held on March 1-3, 2022. During this sale, we assisted over 100 customers and sold over 425 trees. Within the first day of the sale, 75 percent of our inventory had been sold. Our total sales were over $5,000. Due to the time of year, the trees offered for sale were container trees. We talked with customers about the differences between bare root trees and container trees, sharing with them that container trees have been grown in pots and will have roots covered in soil. These container trees are not as delicate as bare root trees and will have a better survival rate.
Our first tree sale was very successful thanks to the help of our partners: the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Catahoula Farm Service Agency, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center Catahoula Parish Cooperative Extension Service, and Catahoula 4-H and FFA students. Our partners helped promote the tree sale in local newsletters, Facebook posts, and meetings, reaching nearly 6,000 people. During the sale, they provided to customers information about the trees that were available and helped move the trees as needed.
The Harrisonburg Walking Trail requested support from the Catahoula SWCD during the sale to work with their volunteers. We met with the volunteers, and planted trees along the walking trail, sharing with them the importance of conservation and planting trees. Plans are also being made with interested schools in Catahoula Parish to present information and work with their students to plant trees in their school yards.
Plans for our next sale in early 2023 are already underway and will include pre-orders so that the office will have the inventory needed for the types of trees customers are looking for.
The Friends of NACD District Grant helped the Catahoula SWCD serve our community. We recommend tree sales to other conservation districts looking for ways to promote conservation.
Help provide grant opportunities like this to conservation districts around the country.
Become a Friend of NACD today!