Borough of Wenonah launches effort to replace hundreds of trees destroyed by tornado
A Gloucester County town that is known for its tree-lined streets was ravaged by a tornado that struck during Hurricane Ida. Now the Borough of Wenonah is hoping to line its streets with trees once again.
“You couldn’t drive through town at all. Trees, especially on South Monroe, 25 feet high trees, destruction just laying around in the streets,” says Gary Odenbrett, chairman of the Wenonah Shade Tree Commission.
It has been more than six months since an EF-3 tornado ravaged parts of the town. Dead trees, stumps and damaged homes stand as a reminder.
Wenonah lost about 800 trees between those that lined the streets and the ones in backyards.
“This park was full of trees, shade. You couldn’t see across the tracks at all. We had five or six large pin oaks – 60-foot pin oaks that we lost here on the clear zone inside the park. Several dozen trees were instantly destroyed and we had to remove many others that were a safety hazard,” Odenbrett says.
The tree commission is now hard at work to replace the trees.
“Exely’s Nursery in Sewell, New Jersey has donated 100 trees to the restoration process,” Odenbrett says.
Some have already been planted, while others will be planted this spring. There is also a GoFundMe page set up to help fund some of the effort. Each tree can cost up to $300.
The Wenonah Shade Tree Commission says it is their hope that the town will one day look like it did before the tornado struck.
“It’s a ‘pay-it-forward’ situation, where we need to make sure future generations get to enjoy this park, the street trees, the way they have in the past,” says Odenbrett. “So our efforts are not just for today, but for the future.”
The town is seeking volunteers to sign up to help plant the trees in the spring.
Wenonah is designated as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its efforts to plant and maintain trees. The town says they have about 2,500 trees in the one-square-mile town.