Community Agriculture Alliance: Nurture your own baby forest

3rd annual ReTree Steamboat event will be held June 9

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— As you have hopefully heard by now, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is hosting its third annual ReTree Steamboat event June 9, and this year, the organization is focusing on longevity and survival of the yearling trees that will be planted. Based on the Sustainability Council’s two years of experience with ReTree Steamboat and under the guidance of the Colorado State Forest Service, the focus of the event has evolved from quantity to quality.

So next weekend, with the help and supervision of volunteer crew leaders who understand the objectives of the event and have been trained in proper planting and watering techniques, the Sustainability Council, the state Forest Service and the contingent of community volunteers will plant trees at three public open space sites throughout Steamboat Springs. In addition, the Sustainability Council and the state Forest Service are partnering with organizations like the Community Youth Corps, the Service Learning Institute and local Boy Scouts to visit the planting sites regularly during this potentially dry summer and give water and attention to the tiny 8- to 12-inch-tall trees.

The Sustainability Council is looking for more groups to help foster these sites on Howelsen Hill throughout the summer. Groups can sign up for watering during a specific week, weeks or months. Or they can opt to visit a site regularly all summer, depending on their availability and the number of volunteers. Any amount of assistance will add to the trees’ survival rates. Groups will be instructed on how and where to water their chosen site, and a watering calendar will be set up online. Learn more at www.yvsc.org/retree.

Other new additions to ReTree Steamboat include an organics/yard waste drop-off at Wells Fargo Bank’s upper parking lot from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 9. There also will be a cellphone recycling drop-off at the Sustainability Council’s booth at the Sustainability Expo, and funds raised will go toward purchasing trees for ReTree Steamboat 2013.

As usual, hundreds of volunteers are needed to make this event a success. Registration is available online at www.yvsc.org/retree. Day-of registration begins at 8 a.m. on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. Planting is from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and the expo and barbecue will follow from noon to 3 p.m.

ReTree Steamboat is a great community event for people of all ages and all hiking abilities. Teams are encouraged. Planting sites range from easy to moderate, and those who choose to plant on Emerald Mountain are able to ride the Howelsen Hill lift up and take the Howler Alpine slide down. Kids and adults alike will be entertained at the Sustainability Expo with arts and crafts, Woodsman’s demonstrations, touch-a-truck, bark beetle wood workshop, Smoky the Bear and Woodsy Owl, live music from Trevor G. Potter and Rural Wreckage and plenty more. Join the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council for this great annual event and support the growth and diversity of our local forests.

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