2017-05-19 / Today's Top Stories

Brand new trees, wine and cheese

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By BRIANNE OSTRANDER

Staff Writer

CANTON — A venue popular for holding favorite area events such as the Wine and Cheese and Apple and Cheese festivals is getting a new eco-friendly upgrade. Manley-Bohlayer Farms has started a tree planting program to replace trees that have recently been, or will soon be taken off the grounds.

Manley-Bohlayer Farms is home to Rekindle the Spirit Inc., a non-profit organization hosting local events since 2000. Currently in ownership of 13 acres, the group has hosted events such as blacksmith classes, weddings, youth football, Victorian Christmas vendor fairs, and of course the annual festivals.

The year 2017 marks the first year of the tree program. Roger Tracey, a member of the grounds committee shared, “It’s been something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but they finally budgeted some this year and we bought 10 trees. Ten different varieties of trees, which is something the property has never had before because it’s just been native pine and ash.”

Tree planting is a necessary part of not only keeping the area beautiful, but also retaining its environmental health. Recently, the county has been hit by ash worms, a type of insect that burrows into healthy ash trees and eventually destroys them. Manley-Bohlayer Farms has lost a number of ash trees from these pests.

The organization has also lost a tree to a lightning strike from a recent storm, and has recognized that several others are aging and may need to be taken down for safety reasons in the near future. The tree planting project is a way they have replaced these losses and moved to sustain the natural elements of the property in the future.

Some new trees planted this year are of native varieties such as maple and elm, while others include purple robe locust, tree lilac, and snow goose. A mountain ash, a type of ash not affected by ash worms, has also been added.

Rekindle the Spirit’s grounds crew worked with Wellsboro Parks and Recreation to choose trees from a tree nursery in the area. Trees planted in the inner section of the grounds will grow to be between 18 and 30 feet high, while those planted in the outer areas will be 50 to 70 feet high when fully grown.

It took about four hours, and the help of a team including Tracey, maintenance team member Gene Kennedy, Brian Kennedy, and Kurt Bedford to plant all 10 trees. Tracey has high hopes to continue the program and plant more trees each year.

“Hopefully we can do this, have some money in the budget each year to keep on the plan,” he said.

Along with the tree project, Rekindle the Spirit’s team members are preparing for upcoming blacksmith classes the first and second Saturdays in June and the 8th Annual Wine and Cheese Festival on June 24. The festival will include over 30 vendors, historic building walk-throughs, local musicians, and wine tasting for visitors over 21 years of age.

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