Nearly 55 volunteers from Chesapeake Utilities and Calpine planted 1,527 native trees and shrubs at The Nature Conservancy’s Milford Neck Preserve on April 14.

Staff members from The Nature Conservancy also assisted with planting the trees that were clustered into six areas, called habitat islands. After the trees were planted, mulch was laid down to suppress the growth of weeds. Deer exclusion fencing was installed around the habitat islands to protect the trees from over browse by white-tailed deer.

The new habitat islands were centrally located in a field that was used for growing soybeans in recent years. As the trees in the habitat islands grow, the open fields between the existing hardwood forests will slowly become a restored, unified forest again.

The Nature Conservancy has been working to restore native habitats at Milford Neck Preserve since it first acquired property in the area in 1992. The Milford Neck area provides a resting and foraging habitat for migratory shorebirds. The landscape also contains marshes and ponds for waterfowl migrating along the north Atlantic flyway.

The Nature Conservancy’s Milford Neck Preserve is not open to visitors at this time. However, members of the public can see birds and wildlife in nearby areas of Milford Neck by exploring Big Stone Beach, Bennetts Pier and Cedar Beach roads.

For information on TNC’s restoration efforts at the Milford Neck Preserve, visit nature.org/milfordneck.