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Two members of the planting crew. All members planted trees at the Susan B. Lurton dog park and Saga Hill Park in Orono as part of the Rotary’s International challenge to have every club plant trees in their community. (Submitted photo)

The Susan E. Lurton Dog Park and Saga Hill Park received an upgrade from the Orono Rotary, Otten Bros Garden Center and Landscaping and The City of Orono in September.

The parks now feature a tree walk where park visitors can view the various types of trees at each park as well as a plaque with information about the types of tree. The planting team planted 25 trees at Susan E. Lurton and three at Saga Hill Park, according to Orono Rotary member and Orono’s Deputy Chief of Police Chris Fischer.

The idea of the tree walk stemmed from the Rotary International president, who challenged Rotary clubs to plant trees in order to help reduce greenhouse gases. Plymouth’s Rotary Club also participated in the challenge and donated $2,000 to Orono’s project. According to Fischer, the clubs go back and forth assisting each other with projects. The collaboration allows each group to complete projects.

“[International Rotary President’s] goal was to benefit the earth with trees and we see that as a way to bring recognition to Rotary, the community and to serve the community better through the benefit of planting trees in the community,” Fischer said.

Arborists and The Orono Parks Commission also worked to plan where the trees were going to be placed. The parks were chosen for their popularity and locations. The Susan E. Lurton Dog Park was picked because it is the city’s most popular park, according to Fischer. Other factors were considered including the dog park’s substantial amount of prairie grass, which was not cut during the planting process.

“You cannot believe how busy the dog park is,” Fischer said. “It’s by far our busiest park and that’s why the planning commission chose to have them planted there. I encourage people to check it out...Arborists set them up so the trees would be successful...We didn’t want to cut [the] prairie grass so the trees are set up to avoid it.”

The trees and plaques were planted approximately three weeks ago; however, since then the signs at Susan E. Lurton were pulled out of the ground, causing damage to the park, according to the Orono Police Department. The department is also concerned dogs or their owners can be injured if they step into the holes.

“It’s just sad to see that someone is willing to remove the posts after all the work was done to plant the trees and put in the sign posts for this project. I am not sure that I have ever heard of a sign posts being a hazard for dogs to run into,” Orono Chief of Police Correy Farnoik said.

According to Fischer, the department is “strongly considering a temporary closure of the busiest park in Orono while we make significant changes in response the vandalism.”

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