Community Agriculture Alliance: ReTree Steamboat is right around the corner

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It feels as thought spring finally has arrived — the Yampa River is raging, kids are back on Memorial Field playing soccer and the ground is finally starting to turn from white to green. For the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Colorado State Forest Service, that means that ReTree Steamboat is right around the corner.

Community Agriculture Alliance

This weekly column about agriculture issues is written by area farmers, ranchers and policymakers. It publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.

ReTree Steamboat is in its fifth year of bringing our community together to plant trees. The event was founded in 2010 by Tristan Frolich after he won a $20,000 grant from Sun Chips and National Geographic.

The inaugural ReTree event jump-started reforestation in areas devastated by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

That day, not only were thousands of trees planted, but volunteers also united together to create change in their community and surrounding environment.

The incredible success of the first ReTree event inspired the Sustainability Council to foster its continuation. During the past four years, YVSC in partnership with CSFS has engaged 1,462 volunteers to plant and care for 19,770 trees as part of ReTree.

On June 8, volunteers of all ages will help plant approximately 500 seedlings on the Yampa River Core Trail between the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge and the Bear River Bike Park to beautify this section of the trail and diversify the tree species in the area.

But planting along the Core Trail is just the culmination of this year’s ReTree Steamboat season.

With the help of Hayden students, YVSC and CSFS will plant 165 seedlings at the Hayden Dry Creek Park on Thursday. At the North Routt Community Charter School, we will plant 226 trees with the students May 22. Then, we finish at the Core Trail on June 8, accompanied by an opportunity to thank the volunteers from all three planting locations for their work.

YVSC will be hosting a volunteer thank you barbecue at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, starting at noon. There will great food, beer and live music. The barbecue is free to all volunteers who participate in one of the three 2014 ReTree Steamboat planting days.

A day of planting is a great time to celebrate our local natural resources.

Also on June 8, YVSC is hosting a ReTree Art Show and Sustainability Expo at the Community Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The art show will highlight the work of local woodworkers and artists who use reclaimed or recycled materials in their work.

The Sustainability Expo will showcase the work of our local agencies, businesses and nonprofits working to preserve our natural resources and promote sustainability in the Yampa Valley. The Expo is a family-friendly event, with lots of children’s activities and wood working demonstrations.

The Art Show and Sustainability Expo are free and open to the community. Barbecue tickets will be available for purchase at the event for those who have not registered to help plant. Volunteers can register for and learn more about ReTree at www.yvsc.org/retree.

Sarah B. Jones is the executive director of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

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