NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Forestry needs help planting Virginia’s next generation of trees. This “acorn season” — until Oct. 14 — the department is collecting acorns from people across the state of Virginia.

Acorns may be small, but Joshua McLaughlin with the Virginia Department of Forestry said they play a large role in caring for our environment.

“How do you grow trees? You grow them from an acorn,” McLaughlin said. “I mean, it’s a seed, kind of like the seed in an apple core. Everything has a seed to make it grow.”

Once the department plants the seeds, they grow into seedlings, which ultimately grow into the “trees of tomorrow.”

“For every tree cut down, two should be replanted back,” McLaughlin said. “That’s the same mentality we have.”

Joshua McLaughlin with the Virginia Department of Forestry shows acorns community members have donated so far this year.

Efforts like acorn collection allow the department access to acorns from all across Virginia, creating a healthy profile of genetic diversity in the state’s forests.

“It’s all about collecting more trees,” McLaughlin said. “It’s all about growing as much as you can for the next forest that we’re going to plant.”

Maintaining healthy forest density is a key part of maintaining a healthy environment. Trees absorb CO2 and give off oxygen.

“Trees are a renewable resource,” McLaughlin said. “They need to be used, but we also need to replant them.”

The Virginia Department of Forestry will begin planting on October 15. So people have until the 14th to bring their donations to their local Department of Forestry office. More information on specific guidelines and locations can be found on the department’s website.