EASTON, Pa. - Rob Christopher is Easton's city forester. This summer, he's been busy with a labor of love he created for the community.

Lower Hackett Park is just a short drive off of the 13th Street exit on Route 22.

There, anyone is welcome to explore a hidden gem: Easton's micro-forest.

"You'll see there's different sizes and types of trees," said Christopher. "We're just keeping mowed paths so that everywhere around us turns into a meadow."

The half acre is open to everyone for self-guided tours.

"We're just trying to show people who live in urban areas what they can do in their own yard," said Christopher.

You can learn from the labels, which show the common name for each tree, as well as the botanical name.

Christopher's vision for the outdoor classroom started coming to life in 2019, when the Arbor Day Foundation gave Easton a $35,000 grant, and the city matched the funds.

Volunteers helped plant about 120 native trees and shrubs, including some that were a few years old to accelerate the process.

"They've probably almost doubled in size already," said Christopher.

The forester does the maintenance, but says what goes on underground is important for growth too, including what's known as the "wood wide web."

"There's sort of a whole internet going on under the ground of a very intricate root system," said Christopher. "That's how all of the trees and everything communicates."

Christopher says this is an example of what you'd see if you left a field alone and let nature run its course.

"Generation after generation from when this was planted, they're actually going to watch this turn into a full forest and it really evolve and change," said Christopher.

Christopher spends a couple of days a week at the micro-forest, but also does a ton of other things to make sure Easton stays green. He takes care of trees and plants throughout the city and helps residents too.

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