Planting Trees to Save Polar Bears

With reports of global warming filling the news the problem may seem a daunting one to tackle locally, however one group of concerned citizens will gather this Saturday morning in Seagrove to do just that.

Carrying out an initiative called Acres for the Atmosphere, NC Zoo Staff members, TreesNC and other volunteers will plant trees Saturday for polar bears. The correlation between trees and polar bears may not be obvious at first, however, when thinking in terms of global warming the connection can be made.

In 2009, Polar Bears International (PBI) along with the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) met together in Churchill, Manitoba, which is known as the polar bear capital of world. There the two groups discussed the future for polar bears and the need to take immediate action against global warming, as it is jeopardizing polar bear habitats.

Scientists predict that in five years the levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere will reach the point of destroying sea ice forever. A polar bear’s most vital resource, sea ice is used by polar bears to find mates, construct maternal dens, give birth to cubs, and as a platform for hunting. As the top predator of the artic, the decline of polar bears would affect the entire arctic ecosystem.

Together the two groups created Acres for the Atmosphere, an initiative that promotes planting trees, one of the most effective ways of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“We’re going to plant trees to save polar bears,” explained Marissa Krouse, NC Zookeeper and Acres for the Atmosphere Chairperson.

TreesNC will guide the group in the planting of 100 trees on an acre of donated land located at 1247 Fork Creek Mill Road in Seagrove this Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers that are interested in helping out can meet at the Quik Check at 434 Little River Rd, in Seagrove, at 8:30 a.m. to carpool or caravan.

Those wishing to participate should come prepared in long pants, closed toed shoes, and work gloves. It is recommended that volunteers apply sun block and bug spray prior to arriving. Drinking water and sandwiches will be provided. There will be no restroom access at the planting site.

For more information on Acres for the Atmosphere, or to volunteer for the planting event, please contact Marrisa Krouse at (740) 972-3944 or Bob McCrory (336) 302-6571.

Robin B. Breedlove