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A highlight of Earth Day 2024 was the Private Tree Planting Event surrounding Transformation Trails in Warwick, NY.  On Monday April 22, 2024 at 4pm, a super enthusiastic crowd of about 50 people from Green Thumb Industries, the Warwick Shade Tree Commission, Sustainable Warwick, Transformation Trails and AGRISCULPTURE gathered to plant five trees in honor of the 54th Earth Day. 

In 1962, with the publishing of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, which sold half a million copies in 24 countries, the world stage was set for a new form of environmental awareness – one that acknowledged the Earth and its creatures while establishing a link between increased pollution and decreased human health.  When Earth Day was founded and the first gatherings occurred on April 22, 1970 – people were listening.  Before the end of that year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was founded and three pieces of legislation were passed, the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act as well as the Clean Air Act.  The Clean Water Act followed two years later. 

The Earth Day 2024 event began with the creator of Transformation Trails - Amy Lewis Sweetman of AGRISCULPTURE, sharing this history of Earth Day along with the history of Transformation Trails within Wickham Woodlands of Warwick, NY.  The 750 acre property known today as Wickham Woodlands had once been Lenape land.  In the 1700s it became farmland.  From 1914 to 2011 it hosted a variety of low to mid-level security rehabilitation and prison entities from the New York City Farm, to the New York State School for Boys to the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility.  When New York State closed the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in 2011, the 750 acres was sold to the Town of Warwick, having 150 acres for development and allowing for 600 acres to remain natural.  A very particular 10 acres, still surrounded by former prison fence about 20 feel tall, is the area that has recently become – and is still under construction – “Transformation Trails : from Prison to Park – Warwick NY’s Arboretum with Pollinator Meadows, Sculpture and History!”

Since 2011, many businesses and organizations have been attracted to Wickham Woodlands in Warwick, NY – including sponsors of the Earth Day 2024 event surrounding Transformation Trails, namely Green Thumb Industries, Drowned Lands Brewery, the Warwick Shade Tree Commission, Sustainable Warwick and AGRSCULPTURE.  Four trees were sponsored by Green Thumb Industries, namely a Katsura, a Tupelo, a Swamp White Oak and a Yellowwood Tree and the fifth tree, a European Beech, was sponsored by the Warwick Shade Tree Commission. 

Smiles were contagious as folks got digging, planting and mulching under a picture perfect blue Spring sky!  The tree planting itself was led by experts in the field – the Town of Warwick’s Tree Commissioner Karen Emmerich, Warwick Shade Tree Commission members Connor Smith and Brenden Wagner, along with Sean Smyth and tree farm owner Kurt Emmerich.  As one can see for oneself, the Earth Day 2024 event in Warwick, NY was a huge success… so head to Wickham Woodlands, seek out the newly planted trees along the road surrounding Transformation Trails and scan their tree tag QR codes to learn more! 



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