150 tree challenge accepted by UCCS, supports Sesquicentennial celebration

Caitlyn Dieckmann 

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     The city of Colorado Springs has begun a tree planting challenge geared towards businesses, homeowners, organizations and schools as part of the sesquicentennial celebration, according to the UCCS Office of Sustainability’s website. The plan is to reach a goal of 18,071 trees planted by July, this summer, honoring city founder General William Jackson Palmer’s legacy of land stewardship.  

     Kimberely Reeves, interim director of Sustainability at the University, wrote in an email that UCCS has taken up the challenge and will plant 150 trees across campus to support the city’s 150th anniversary. This project will take place on three separate days: Saturday, April 17, April 24 and May 1, all from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.  

     The first two volunteer days will include student volunteers, and both have reached capacity for signup. The final day is open to UCCS alumni volunteers.  

     Reeves said, “We wrote and received a Colorado Tree Coalition grant to help pay for the trees and we have a partnership with Harding’s Nursery and Rick’s Nursery.” 

     The grant was written as a Sustainability Minor capstone project by a graduating senior within the department.  

     According to Reeves, 86 trees have already been planted near the Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center.  

     “The remaining 64 will be planted across three days of volunteer opportunities,” Reeves said. 

     She also provided that internal partnerships have also developed for this project with the Office of Sustainability, including the Outdoor Services Department, University Advancement, Reisher Scholars and the Office of Alumni Relations.  

     There is also a Positive Impact Points (PIPs) opportunity for students who are involved with the tree planting event.  

     “Students will earn PIPs for attending one of these events and it will go towards the 100 actions for the April PIPs Scholarship Challenge,” Reeves said.  

     A co-presentation titled “Exploring Our Urban Forest” with Christine Biermann, city forester and assistant professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department, took place on April 10. The event covered Biermann’s work in the UCCS Tree Ring Research Lab and presented more information relating to the tree planting challenge.  

     Specifically, Biermann’s research pertained to the urban forests in Colorado Springs and how they are affected by factors such as climate change.  

     More information related to the Office of Sustainability’s efforts in the city’s tree challenge can be found at the volunteer website here and their general COS 150 Tree Challenge page

     Reeves added that the University also supported the sesquicentennial celebration by offering presentations about the history of Colorado Springs and the campus. 

     The first presentation took place on Feb. 17, entitled “UCCS & Colorado Springs—Growing Up Together.” The second took place on March 18 and was titled “Chasing the Cure: The Archeology of Cragmor Tuberculosis Sanatorium.”   

     These two presentations and the “Exploring Our Urban Forest” presentation are available to watch here

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