Nathalie Quede of Freeville loaded a box of tree seedlings into the trunk of her car Thursday morning.
She has been planting trees and plants at her home over the last 14 years to regrow the bare farm field she owns.
With Thursday being Earth Day — a day dedicated to protection and wellbeing of the planet — the importance of the Earth’s well-being was on Quede’s mind.
“To me, it is very important,” she said. “The environment is the key to our future in every way.”
Quede, and the others like her at the Cortland County Fairgrounds in Cortlandville, braved the cold and wind to pick up or purchase tree seedlings at a distribution event hosted by the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The seedlings — mostly native species — were ordered and distributed to residents for uses such as erosion control, reforestation, habitat creation and consumption, said Amanda Barber, the district manager for the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Over 400 seed orders were made this year, she said.
“This is the kind of thing we enjoy and we appreciate,” she said.
Barber noted during the pandemic, sales for seeds and plants at the district have largely increased as more people have been at home and been paying close attention to their gardens and other natural life.
“People are seeing the value in doing something that’s good for the environment but it’s good for them, too,” she said.
More so, she said there has been a movement for younger people becoming more interested in growing their own plants and they become more conscious about where their food comes from.
For people like Quede, the distribution provided a way to add to her garden.
Quede said she purchased white cedar, balsam fir and blue spruce tree seeds to be planted as a protective shield around her orchard.
“I hope it continues and more and more people come every year,” she said.
Other visitors, such as Eliza Brown of Dryden, took advantage of the distribution to get fruit plants.
“We’re really happy about the event,” she said. “This is the second year we’ve done it. The stock is always really healthy, good and really reasonably priced.”
Brown purchased highbush cranberry shrubs, she said.
She also believed caring for the Earth and conservation is important.
“It makes the world nicer for all of us,” she said.
The district will be working on planting projects around the county and beginning next week, the district will be putting out information on its social media about tree planting and the importance of trees, according to a news release from the district.
Barber said she hoped Thursday’s event would help older family members inspire younger family members to become more interested and involved with planting and environmental well-being.
“Families doing tree planting and gardening together, that’s instilling in the younger generation some ideals that they will continue as they grow older and become adults themselves,” she said.