Residents across Tennessee planted more than 250,000 trees Saturday morning as a statewide group continues its mission to plant 1 million statewide.
The Tennessee Environmental Council has led in the planting of more than 600,000 trees statewide since 2007.
"Tennessee's forests cover 14 million acres [52 percent of the state] and they face significant threats from wildfires, insects and disease, improper management and urban expansion," according to a release from the council.
Many of the trees were planted by private citizens. Locally, residents went to the Tennessee Aquarium on Friday and could take up to 25 trees.
One local group held a public event to plant 25 trees on newly obtained property. While technically just across the state line in Georgia, Lula Lake Land Trust held a public gathering on undeveloped land across from its office on Lula Lake Road.
The trust recently acquired the land and plans to restore it. However, it's a long-term project, and the group will work with the public to decide what should go on the property.
"We bought it because Rock Creek is flowing right behind it. We're not sure what we're going to do long term," Lula Lake Land Trust land manager Pat Kelly said. "It's a restoration piece of property. The tornados came through here. It had a business on it. This is a restoration project that's essentially starting today with the planting of these trees."
Twelve volunteers of a variety of ages came to help.
Khadijah Muhammad and her 4-year-old son Ansar Abdullah were in town from South Carolina visiting her sister Zainab Muhammad. The family attended the event.
"I love it. [Being outside] is our favorite thing to do," Khadijah Muhammad said. "I want him to be out in the world and not just inside watching TV, rotting his brain away. I'd rather him connect to the earth. We do a lot of traveling. It's good to see his personality come out in nature, his true personality rather than just a learned personality from what he sees on TV."
Local homeschooler Jacob Oster, 12, volunteers with Lula Lake Land Trust on Thursdays. He has been helping prepare the site for the event and was there Saturday morning to help plant trees and lay mulch.
"I thought it was a good opportunity, and it's fun," Jacob said. " My mom wanted me to get outside because I'm mostly inside for school. It's a good break for me from school, and I don't have to worry about projects and other things."