Community Tree Planting in Grand Junction

Photo Credit: Kamie Long, Colorado State Forest Service

Community Tree Planting in Grand Junction

Guest post from Vince Urbina with the Colorado State Forest Service in coordination with the Western Urban and Community Forestry Network's #HealthyTreesHealthyLives social media campaign. Explore the hashtag #HealthyTreesHealthyLives on social media to learn more. 

There is a national push to get kids outside to visit parks. Many communities across America are promoting initiatives to get kids outside and away from unhealthy sedentary practices. The National Park Service lists five reasons to visit our national parks: 1) it fosters a love of the outdoors and nature; 2) they are more cost efficient that theme parks; 3) there’s something for everyone; 4) it teaches the importance of conservation and preserving public lands; and 5) you can make memories while escaping distractions.

This national effort has many titles promoting the idea: Kids to Parks, Kids in the Park, Kids to Parks Day. No matter how the program is identified, the goals remain the same – get children outside actively using their bodies while exploring, hiking, climbing, working and learning about their environment. 

In Grand Junction, CO, the city decided to implement their Kids to Parks Day in conjunction with a Community Tree Planting effort. Since 2016, the city forestry department has organized a community tree planting for children, parents, grandparents and anyone else interested in giving back to their community. 

  • In 2016, over a hundred children, parents and volunteers planted over seventy trees in the medians enhancing a scenic public drive on the west side of the city. The city forester purposely chose under used trees like dawn redwood and Kentucky coffeetree to introduce tree species to public places in that part of the city that are working well in other parts of the city. 
  • In 2017, fifty children, parents, tree professionals and volunteers planted one hundred plus trees at the Las Colonias amphitheater along the Colorado River. Once again, species diversity was an emphasis.  
  • In 2018, twenty-five children, parents and volunteers planted twenty trees in Hawthorne Park, which is a neighborhood park in the older part of the city. The primary focus of this planting in addition to species diversity was utilizing drought tolerant trees with an irrigation system designed just for the trees and not the nearby turf. 

The Grand Junction Community Tree Planting program is a multi-tiered success for the city. Not only are the volunteer tree planters giving back to their community in sweat equity, they are now connected to the trees they helped plant and can watch them grow. These new trees will contribute to the economic vitality, public health and tree diversity of this growing Western Colorado community. Whereas streets and manmade structures depreciate over time, tree benefits appreciate with time.   

For more information, contact Vince Urbina, U&CF Program Manager, Colorado State Forest Service, at Vince.Urbina@colostate.edu or (970)-250-1923.