DAVENPORT, Iowa – Wind, cold, or rainy days keep workers with the Davenport Public Works Forestry Department doing a different kind of inside project until they get a call.
Driving along Vander Veer Park a lot of drivers don’t notice the monstrous Austrian Pines on the park’s northwest corner. But those trees are infected with nematode fungus and need to come down.
“They’re all infected at this point,” says Davenport City Arborist, John Vance.
But when it’s too windy or cold out for the team to cut down trees outside, they move inside and build furniture.
For about six days each year the department gives sick trees on their last leg another chance at life.
“We have some white oak in stock, Austrian pine, and of course a lot ash,” Vance says about their selection.
“Instead of letting wood go to waste we are making projects out of them,” says Ben Edge, an employee with the forestry department.
The crew builds benches, tables, chairs – all with an authentic rustic look. The detail on the benches comes from the insects who used to infest the ash trees.
“You can see the galleries or trails where the insects had been feeding,” Vance explains.
Although most days Vance’s crew cuts down trees, it’s those few days a year when they get to salvage them into something more.
The furniture is available for anyone to boy on the forestry department’s website. The money goes toward planting future trees and other beautification projects.