RUMFORD — A group of students from the Eddy School in Newry helped plant more than 200 trees and shrubs near the site of a new bridge that will cross the Androscoggin River.

Ethel Wilkerson, a stream ecologist with the Manomet organization, said that the planting was a collaboration between the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, the Maine Department of Transportation and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

The trees were provided by the Clear Water Carbon Fund, a Manomet project that allows individuals and businesses to sponsor the planting of trees.

Wilkerson said that the Androscoggin River Watershed Council had reached out to Manomet to find a section of the Androscoggin River Watershed that “didn’t currently have buffers.”

“We were trying to figure out where the trees would benefit most,” Wilkerson said. “We figured that the bridge site at Rumford Center was a good opportunity because of the construction being done there. The trees are an important addition because they help filter road runoff and buffer the area.”

Landowner David McCrum, who still owns the land, gave permission for Manomet, the Androscoggin River Watershed Council and the Maine Department of Transportation to plant a variety of trees and shrubs near the bridge crossing, including red and silver maple, white birch, red-osier and silky dogwood and American cranberrybush.

Wilkerson said that Jeff Stern, who works with the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, reached out to people in the area to see if anyone was interested in helping the organizations plant the trees.

“The Eddy School’s name came up,” Wilkerson said, referring to a small, private school in Newry. “We contacted the teacher, and they seemed interested in helping us out.

“The students from the Eddy School worked very hard planting these trees,” Stern said. “I like to think when they travel over this bridge for many years to come, they will look to see how big the trees have grown.”

Wilkerson explained that part of her training allows her to determine which trees would fit best in certain areas.

“The species we selected for planting at the bridge crossing are the kinds that do well on riverbanks,” she said. “They like wet soil, can tolerate some periods of flooding and do well in an open area. They’re pretty hardy trees.”

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