Native trees, shrubs added to Rider Park

WARRENSVILLE — A total of 2,000 native trees and shrubs recently were planted throughout Rider Park to encourage a healthy local ecosystem, according to Jack Willoughby, chief financial officer of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, which owns the park.

Ten acres in four locations were cleared and prepared for planting by Rider Park staff, volunteers and consulting forester Stephen E. Jaquith, Willoughby said. Species planted include red oak, tuliptree, sugar maple, hawthorn, gray dogwood, arrowwood, serviceberry, nannyberry, black haw, hazelnut, pin oak, swamp white oak, red maple, baldcypress, alder, river birch, silky dogwood, red-osier dogwood, chokeberry and spicebush.

“The goal is to improve the habitat and forest areas of Rider Park. These are all native trees and shrubs,” Willoughby said.

A grant from the Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, aided the project along with funds from the foundation’s Rider Park Endowment Fund.

People can expect to see other changes coming to the park in the near future, Willoughby said.

Plans are to design a new gateway entrance, expand picnic areas and improve parking, school bus access and comfort and maintenance facilities, he said, noting that they will happen as funding becomes available.

“There are always projects going on,” he said. “In addition, we hope at some point to provide a new and improved handicapped-accessible trail. That would be something unique to the area.”