ReTree final planting event to take place this Sunday
Steamboat Springs — Connecting the community to a part of Steamboat that adds yet another element to its charm, ReTree Steamboat will kick off its fall events this weekend, which will continue with creative sustainability for the next two months.
The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council has overseen the event the past five years and, within that time, has engaged 2,058 volunteers to plant and care for 23,190 trees.
New to the now year-round program, ReTree will host a variety of events in October and November, including a two-month gallery exhibit with more than 45 artists, four workshops and three YVSC events.
The first of these events is the ReTree Friends Celebration, which took place Friday evening at the Depot Art Center, with food from Steamboat Smokehouse and entertainment by the local group Yer State Birds. In collaboration with the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, the Depot will host a two-month ReTree exhibit featuring artwork from local and national artists in a wide range of mediums.
“This is about continuing a legacy,” said Andy Kennedy, program and marketing director for YVSC. “Trees provide so much for us; that’s the reason why we do this is to give back to the forest that we definitely cherish up here. Steamboat is unlike anyplace else.”
Also this weekend, the final ReTree Planting is set for 9 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area. Volunteers will help plant the final 150 cottonwood trees to enhance this year’s river restoration project. Volunteers are welcome to join and can sign up on the YVSC website at yvsc.org.
“It’s so important — not only planting trees that need to be planted, but this brings people together to do it,” said Terese Coco, event and program coordinator at the SSAC.
Three ReTree workshops are also scheduled at the Depot. These include a “Repurposed Wood Workshop,” with Candice Jones and Sue Oehme from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17; a “Tree Pendant Jewelry Workshop,” with Jeniere Yeats, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 3; and a “Children’s Repurposed Art Workshop,” with Kerry Searle, from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 19.
While the ReTree planting project varies each year, Kennedy said that, by volunteering with ReTree, people help maintain the flow and ecology surrounding designated areas.
“For me, it’s about seeing the results of my labor and being able to see those trees over the years taking hold and continuing to grow,” said Chuck Willard, a manager for Letson Enterprises and general contractor who has given back as a volunteer for the past five years. “I work in the construction industry, which uses many wood products that create an impact, so I wanted to get involved to be able to provide renewable resources for future generations.”
Willard said he is continually learning, because every year is different with the introduction of new techniques and items used to help the sustainability and growth of the plants.
This year, Carolina Manriquez, from the Colorado State Forest Service — a key partner with ReTree in the planning and organization— said the approach of ReTree was to have a fall planting rather than planting in the middle of the summer to determine if they could achieve better results.
“There is a continuity of this to keep adapting and changing management to respond to various challenges,” Manriquez said.
Manriquez said the organizers approached a different demographic this year by collaborating with the SSAC as a way to engage more people in the community and create awareness for ReTree’s mission.
“It’s about pride,” Kennedy said. “I think that being a part of something so long and being able to watch it grow is amazing. It connects people to the environment, and I definitely consider it a blessing to be part of this.”
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