Students sustainably planting trees at Tech
BLACKSBURG — A group of about 30 Virginia Tech and Blacksburg community members came together Tuesday afternoon to plant about 15 trees on Tech’s campus.
The 2012 Sustainability Week Tree Planting event had been postponed from the week before due to inclement weather.
The tree-planting group gathered behind War Memorial Gym on campus to begin digging holes, planting trees and mulching the entire area.
Students planted native birch and Hawthorne trees donated by the forestry and horticulture departments, as well as American elms and an oak tree.
Participants were led by students and school faculty members as each tree was planted. Tools for the project, including shovels and gloves, were provided by the VT Engage “Hokie Hands” trailer.
Campus landscape architect Matt Gart said the team was working with a sloped-site that had been difficult to mow and created a lot of stormwater runoff. The project, Gart added, would help decrease that runoff, add tree canopy to campus and convert the site into forest space.
“Grounds has a lot on their plate maintaining the campus,” Gart said. “New initiatives like this are often difficult at times, but to have students out here to spread mulch and plant trees is a big contribution.”
Brad Dyche, a senior majoring in conservation and recreation, said he wanted to be a part of the tree planting because he felt it was his responsibility to not only harvest trees sustainably, but to sustainably plant them, as well.
“I consider myself responsible for maintaining good stewardship towards the land and also making sure for every tree I cut, I plant a new one in its place,” Dyche said. “It’s very important to me to keep it around for all to enjoy.”
The trees, Dyche said, help give students a new outlook when they’re having a bad day and help bring a “warm” feeling to fight off the regular drudgery of academics and studying all day.
“When you have trees to look at, school tends to be a little more enjoyable in my opinion,” Dyche said.
A.J. Lang, a graduate forest operations student, had a different approach as to why he participated.
“I’m out here because I enjoy the physical labor associated with planting the trees,” Lang said. “It gets me away from my desk, and it obviously has an importance with planting trees for the community, and green spaces are essential.”
Two students, sophomores John Yu and Nathan Chung, were passing by the site when they decided they wanted to help.
“We saw the trees and people planting them and thought it was a good way to give back to the community,” Yu, a business major, said.
“This really reduces our carbon footprint.”
For more information and the history of Sustainability Week in Blacksburg, visit http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/sustain_week.asp.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627
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