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Earnhardt forest launched.

The first 50 of 77,000 trees that will honor the memory of NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt were planted in Sloan Park outside Mooresville, North Carolina, in November by AMERICAN FORESTS and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation.

Mooresville is home to The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

The goal of the Dale Earnhardt Forest is to restore trees to the city of Charlotte and to restore wildlife habitat, expand greenways, and return trees to riparian areas in the 15-county region surrounding Mecklenburg County.

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The partnership between AMERICAN FORESTS and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation was announced with the planting of seven trees--symbolizing Earnhardt's seven NASCAR championships--at Dale Earnhardt Day, which coincides with Arbor Day and the late racing legend's birthday. The former Mooresville resident and NASCAR legend was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist who championed environmental causes and environmental education.

"The planting of the first trees near the location where Dale spent so much of his time and energy is an appropriate way to formally launch the Dale Earnhardt Forest," said Dick Baker, executive director of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation.

"Through public-private partnerships with local governments, our hope is to expand the Dale Earnhardt Forest to the 16 states he raced in during his illustrious career--and ultimately across the United States."

The 50 saucer magnolias, willow oaks, and red maples that were planted in the Dale Earnhardt Grove at Sloan Park will be part of the Park's Historic Tree Trail. The Historic Tree Trail consists of numerous trees propagated from trees found at various national landmarks, historic sites, and locations related to significant historical figures.

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is also supporting AMERICAN FORESTS' efforts to bring a high-tech environmental education program to 120 middle and high school classes in North Carolina in 2006. The program combines computer technology, math, science, and geography with tree care and hands-on activities to teach students to value trees in their local areas.

"We are delighted to join with Teresa Earnhardt and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation to honor Dale's commitment to the environment--and to environmental education," AMERICAN FORESTS executive director Deborah Gangloff said. "We hope race fans everywhere will join this effort by planting a tree in his memory."

To find out more about the Dale Earnhardt Forest or contribute by planting trees, visit www.americanforests.org and click on campaigns or visit The Dale Earnhardt Foundation's website at www.thedaleearnhardtfoundation.org.
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:News from the world of Trees; Dale Earnhardt
Publication:American Forests
Geographic Code:1U5NC
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:400
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