By Michael Jafari

The Buffalo Sabres teamed up with the Olmstead Parks Conservancy (BOPC) on Sunday, October 24 to plant 33 trees at Riverside Park.

Center Paul Gaustad and defenseman Mike Weber were joined by 60 volunteers on Sunday morning to plant maple, birch, beech, and oak trees donated by BOPC. 

“Buffalo used to be known as the city of trees throughout the years, but unexpected weather conditions have caused us to lose many of them,” said BOPC Vice President Rachel Lithgow.  “Our goal is to plant 1,000 trees a year so we can re-tree Buffalo. It’s great to see a turnout like this.”

One of the more prominent storms that Lithgow referred to was the infamous “October Storm.” Western New York is still recovering from the 2006 storm that wiped out almost 5,700 trees.  Gaustad was a member the Sabres at that time and remembers the damage caused by the storm.

“It was a freak storm that destroyed a lot of trees at many parks,” recalled Gaustad. “I planted trees a couple of times in Buffalo, and I’ve come to realize that we have great parks, and it’s pretty special to help out here.”

BOPC equipped the players and the green team participants with shovels, gloves, and stakes to plant the trees in various areas of the park.  It wasn’t the cleanest activity to help Western New York go green, but Weber was impressed with the participation.

“It’s impressive to see the park filled with 60 people helping to plant trees,” Weber said. “The support from the community is unbelievable, and it shows you what a great city Buffalo is and how we come together.”

The Buffalo Sabres Green Team is extremely proud of what it accomplished with the help of volunteers and sponsors. The presenting sponsor of this event was National Fuel’s Conservation Incentive Program. Supporting sponsors included Chautauqua Energy, Modern Recycling, and Integrys Energy.

“By teaming up with the Buffalo Sabres Green Team, we hope to increase awareness about energy conservation,” said National Fuel Spokesperson Nancy Taylor.  “Our goal is to educate the community on how to use resources wisely and obtain rebates from National Fuel for energy-efficient equipment.

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