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City accepts trees from the DOC Restorative Justice Program - KOAM TV 7

City accepts trees from the DOC Restorative Justice Program

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Mayor Mike Seibert joined Parks and Recreation officials at Cunningham Park to greet the Missouri Department of Corrections in accepting a tree donation to help with the Joplin recovery effort.

Warden Ryan Crews of Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph made the presentation of the donation of 155 healthy trees.

“We are truly appreciative for this donation,” said Mayor Seibert. “Having lost nearly 18,000 trees in the disaster, our community appeared bare through the tornado-stricken area. Their gift will help redevelop the urban forest and green spaces that Joplin residents have enjoyed for years. Not only is this a great donation to Joplin, but the manner in which these trees were nurtured during the past three years is unique and exemplifies how this agency initiated a program that can help others in various ways. We're proud to be a recipient of the efforts made by all involved in the program.”

The tree donation developed through the work of the Department of Corrections' Restorative Justice Program. This program encourages offenders to reflect on the harm caused by their criminal activity and to make restoration to victims, the community and their own families. The program also teaches offenders about compassion and altruistic behavior.

“After the devastation of May 2011 tornado, the governor called on all state agencies and Missourians to help in the effort of rebuilding Joplin,” said George A. Lombardi, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections. “Today, we are continuing to answer that call by donating trees that have been tended to by volunteer offenders for the past three years as a part of the department's Restorative Justice Program.”

Chris Cotten, Parks and Recreation Director, noted that these trees will help with the ongoing community beautification. Nearly 13,000 trees have been replanted since the disaster, including those in Cunningham Park, Parr Hill Park and Garvin Park, as well along street corridors. The Parks department also has an ongoing tree giveaway program for residents who were affected by the disaster.

“Through donations of so many, we've been fortunate to offer hundreds of trees to citizens who want to reestablish their landscape following the tornado,” said Cotten. Today's trees were originally donated by the George White Nursery in Licking, Mo. to the DOC for their Restorative Justice program.

The number and type of trees donated include:

? 39 Oaks (Red Oak and Swamp Oak);

? 31 Tulip Poplars;

· 27 Bald Cypresses;

? 25 River Birches;

? 18 Redbuds;

? 10 Black Gums;

? four Flowering Dogwoods and;

? one Mulberry

For more information about this donation or the Parks Department's tree giveaway program, call 417-624-6937.

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