This past fall, three groups of HRI volunteers helped out at the Forest Restoration Alliance research facility in Waynesville, NC.

On a beautiful, sunny day in October, a small but enthusiastic group helped out in the greenhouse. They repotted Chinese hemlock and Fraser fir seedlings that are part of the FRA’s research program in the breeding of hemlocks that are resistant to hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Many of the pots were almost bursting with roots and were happy to have larger pots to grow into.


In November, volunteers helped with repotting and planting newly sprouted hemlock seeds in the greenhouse.  Seeds are germinated in a cool incubator and then individually planted in trays after sprouting. Volunteers also got down and (a little) dirty helping finish a new drainage system near the newly renovated indoor research facility.  The drainage system will be a great help with keeping this area around the building and the outdoor shadehouse from flooding in the rain.


December volunteers including students from UNCA and Warren Wilson College

A large group, including students from UNC Asheville and Warren Wilson College, came out in December for a sunny day of volunteering. One group cleared away encroaching shrubs and locust trees from the shadehouse and moved lots of heavy cinder blocks into a permanent “storage area.” Another group was on the other side of the research farm cleaning up the “pot-in-pot” study area. The pot-in-pot system is where a large pot is buried in the ground and a tree in a smaller pot is placed in the larger pot. FRA researchers use system this to create a more stable soil environment for the potted hemlocks, while also being able to move trees around when needed. The volunteers in this area weeded, removed dead trees, fixed broken parts of the irrigation system, and filled in over a hundred pots with new trees.

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative would like to give a huge thanks to all of our volunteers that gave their time and energy this fall.  Many hands make light work, as they say.  We also appreciate their concern for the preservation of hemlocks.  We are glad we can support the work of our partners at the Forest Restoration Alliance and get members of the community informed about and connected to their work.  We hope these collaborative work days will help further their work in a tangible way.

To learn more about the Forest Restoration Alliance visit Email to sign up for notifications about future work days. You can also click here to check for upcoming work days on our events page.