A small group of students, service workers and college staff planted trees at Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus earlier this month.
The group gathered outside of the Business Building during the waning days of spring semester to make a statement about the environment and demonstrate their service learning skills.
Five students from the Business Communications class, taught by Melodee Lambert and led by Lansia Wann, organized the event. A major component of this course includes a service learning project that requires the communication and cooperation of many different parties.
Phil Pharrow, the groundskeeper for Taylorsville Redwood Campus, told the assembled crowd, “We have thirty acres of land on this campus and what must be thousands of trees, and these we are planting today are just part of what will keep us the best looking campus in the state.”
As groundskeeping staff spent the morning digging the holes required for planting, one student described the hardest part of the project was finding companies that “wanted to donate trees to us. I sat and spoke with them [various donors] for ten or fifteen minutes about the benefits of donating to Salt Lake Community College, but it is apparently peak season for tree companies, and would be more willing to donate in the late summer or fall.”
“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Utah residents,” said Hannah Whitney, Outreach Coordinator with TreeUtah, an organization dedicated to the planting of trees around the state for both aesthetic and ecological reasons. “I am so glad you are doing this project… It is very important you are doing this work, in places like Salt Lake City [with a high rate of] population growth it is important to replant trees displaced by development.”
Whitney had plenty of compliments to pay SLCC students and faculty, as well as the campus itself, but also had some valuable tips for tree planting.
For starters, the hole the tree is placed in must be the same depth as the existing root ball (the dirt surrounding the roots of saplings intended for this purpose). Ideally, the hole should also be two to three times the width of the root ball, depending on the quality and softness of the soil.
Whitney added with a chuckle that the tree should be vertical of course, and also commented on the usefulness of mulch around the base of the tree, which helps to protect the base of the tree from being scraped by passing lawnmowers.
Whitney ended her time with the group by proudly stating that the four trees planted would be added to a list being put together by TreeUtah, as part of an initiative dubbed One Million Trees for One Million People. This initiative, started in 2007, aims to plant one million or more trees in the state by 2017, and is well on its way to being fulfilled.
Wann personally thanked Mrs. Lambert for her service in the class and told her that in exchange for the tree personally donated by the teacher, her students had arranged for a shovel to be donated by Wal-Mart, which they then proudly signed to serve as a reminder of all her hard work.
Mrs. Lambert herself was the first to pour a shovel full of dirt around the base of the new tree, which will surely grow tall and proud as the years pass, just like her students.