Denison Venture Philanthropy (DVP) is sponsoring an initiative to remove invasive Bradford pear trees — which are such a massive problem that they’re illegal to sell or plant anywhere in Ohio — from Licking County. 

The program incentivizes residents to remove the invasive pear trees on their property and offers a reward: a free, pollinator-friendly native tree to replace it.

DVP is a student program organized around philanthropy that invests $10,000 and student volunteer hours in a local non-profit organization.

Grants for the program are mostly funded through the generosity of David Kuhns ‘68. Each year, DVP students support a Licking County organization with funding and at least 200 hours of service. The organization creates strong ties between the college and the community and offers students experience with real-world issues.

The Bradford pear ‘bounty’ program is led by Pollinator Pathway, a partnership of more than a dozen local organizations working together to create a continuous corridor of native plant habitat for pollinators. It also enjoys in-kind support from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District, Leaves for Wildlife, Dawes Arboretum, and 1500 Trees.

Participation is open to property owners in Licking County. Registrationis required, and participants can receive up to three replacement tree rewards.

Pickup of the replacement tree rewards will take place on Saturday, May 11, in conjunction with Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District’s Backyard Conservation Day and Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers’ annual plant sale. Among the trees offered as a reward include serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida), or a voucher toward the purchase of a larger native tree at participating local nurseries. Pollinator Pathway also will distribute supplies to protect the young trees from deer.

March 18, 2024