OSWEGO TOWN — George and Jane Pauk recently pledged $5,000 per year for five years ($25,000 total) in support of the Canal Forest Restoration Project at SUNY Oswego’s Rice Creek Field Station. This project is an initiative to restore white oak, swamp white oak, and white pine trees to areas along the New York State canal system, including Oswego.
White oak, swamp white oak and white pine trees were logged extensively to support the canal industries of ship building and barrel building, and are therefore scarce in our forests of today. In addition to restoring these species to the New York landscape, the mission of the Canal Forest Restoration Project also includes increasing public awareness and appreciation of white oak, swamp white oak, and white pine.
The Pauks, co-founders of the Canal Forest Restoration Project, have already invested thousands of dollars in the project, including the purchase of trees for free distribution and potting supplies for growing trees from seed. They have also spent countless hours collecting seeds, distributing trees to the public, and educating the public about this initiative.
George Pauk is a retired physician and Binghamton native. He and his wife Jane currently split their time between Arizona and nearby Brewerton, where they reside on their boat. As canal boaters, the Pauks became interested in the important history of white oak, swamp white oak and white pine, and realized that canal users have a debt to pay to these tree species.
Having recently partnered with SUNY Oswego’s Rice Creek Field Station, the Pauks hope their gift will help the project grow and flourish at Rice Creek. Their gift will support project materials and potentially fund a student intern to help care for trees and engage in public outreach. Additionally, the Pauks’ gift will support the purchase of five large oak trees (four white oak and one swamp white oak) from a local nursery to be planted at the SUNY Oswego campus.
Officials at Rice Creek, which had previously signed on as a location to protect potted trees until transplant, said they are grateful to George and Jane Pauk. In addition to the monetary support, the Pauk family and their friends helped with planting and caring for trees all summer long. They also spent two days at the Empire Farm Days at Seneca Falls distributing trees and talking to visitors about the importance of these special trees, their history and value to the local area.
For further information about the Canal Forest Restoration Project, visit https://www.oswego.edu/rice-creek/projects. Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact Rice Creek at 315.312.6677 or [email protected]