Ash tree replacement effort launched in county

A VARIETY OF TREES will be planted throughout the county as part of a Rotary Club initiative to replace ash trees being devastated by a beetle infestation. – Beacon photo by Penny Jesse

The Sheboygan and Plymouth Rotary Clubs through the Restoration Of Our Trees (ROOTS) program rolled out the first of five collaborative projects with area municipal governments to combat the devastation of public forests caused by emerald ash borer EAB) infestation.

ROOTS, the Plymouth Rotary Club with the support of Plymouth Utilities and the Rotary District 6270 are providing a matching cash grant and volunteer support to assist the City of Plymouth with a project of accelerated replanting of four popular municipal parks with non-ash trees. 

The collaborative project involving both municipal and private including non-profit sectors funding support is the first of several set for implementation during the 2020 fall planting season.

These projects are designed as a protype response for other areas of infestation in the State. 

In jointly announcing the project with Plymouth Mayor Don Pohlman, Sheboygan Rotary Club ROOTS Coordinator Tony Fessler noted that in conjunction with Plymouth Utilities, a cash grant from the Rotary District 6270 and the ROOTS Community Investment Fund (CIF), the program would match a labor, material and equipment contributions from the City of Plymouth for an overall project cost of over $15,000. 

Pohlman, Plymouth Rotary President Jeff Tauscheck, and Fessler announced that the project would provide approximately 45 to 50 large non-ash species trees to replace EAB diseased trees in Meyers, Lions, Rotary and Lone Oak Parks.

In rolling out the project during a replanting event at Rotary Park on the morning of September 16th; Rotary, Plymouth Utilities, and Municipal leadership praised the close collaboration between both the public and private including non-profit sectors to raise greatly needed additional resources to combat the EAB devastation.

Recent tree inventories indicate that the at-risk ash canopy in Sheboygan County numbers approximately 17 million trees.  In just two years since the ROOTS inception, Rotary and its partner the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) have stimulated over $400,000 private and Federal and State resources in efforts to respond to EAB in Sheboygan County.

During the September 16th project rollout, Fessler was supported by municipal leadership and Rotary representatives in encouraging maximum support for this ongoing effort by area corporations, businesses and foundations with an interest of preserving our endangered forest canopy for future generations.   

He noted that robust urban and rural forest assets are essential for most outdoor recreation pursuits, maintaining high property values, community esthetics, attracting and retaining an essential skilled workforce, and enhanced public health through removal of tons of pollutants and climate warming CO2. 

“This continued EAB mitigation campaign requires an all hands-on-deck response by both the private and public sectors if we are to preserve our essential forests for present and future generation,” he said.

Fessler invited persons and organizations wishing to support ROOTS to seek additional information at or through contacting him at

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