On tornado anniversary, volunteers work to replace trees that were downed by the storm

Volunteers plant trees to restore East Nashville canopy
Posted at 10:44 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 06:47:20-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Dozens of volunteers marked the one-year anniversary of the March 2020 tornado by planting trees up and down Holly Street in East Nashville, hoping to replace ones uprooted by the storm.

The effort was part of the Nashville Tree Foundation's ReLeaf Nashville campaign, which hopes to restore the tree canopies in areas hit by the tornado.

Nashville Tree Foundation Executive Director Andrew Bell said he doesn't have an exact number of the trees downed by the storm because the COVID-19 pandemic hindered efforts to get an accurate count, but he said the number is in the hundreds in East Nashville alone.

One of the ReLeaf trees was going into Billy West's front yard, replacing a poplar tree that was planted during the first ReLeaf effort, which came after the 1998 tornado.

"The poplar tree was actually a result of the last tornado in 1998. I lost two big maples here," West explained. "I never took it for granted after that."

Bell said in the three years after the 1998 tornado, the Nashville Tree Foundation planted 7,000 trees in East Nashville.

West said he was excited to learn the Nashville Tree Foundation would be doing again in the wake of the 2020 tornado.

"Oh, I was tickled to death," he said. "I'm very grateful that they’re out here doing this."

Volunteers also planted two memorial trees outside of Lockeland Elementary school to mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado.