Hayden students plant for the future

Matt Stensland

— Thanks to some local youth, mature aspen, cottonwood and dogwood trees should be flourishing in a couple decades at Dry Creek Park in Hayden.

“It’s fun because you get to learn about these different trees, like how they need to be planted,” Hayden Valley Elementary School student Tessa Booco said. “It’s fun to hang out with your friends, too.”

Tessa was planting the trees and spreading mulch with her fourth-grade classmates.

Last year, they planted 100 trees, and about 70 percent of them were still alive. This year, they planted 80 more.

The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council helped coordinate the tree-planting event as part of its ReTree Steamboat program. The town of Hayden, Colorado State Forest Service and the elementary and middle schools also helped.

The planting coincided with Hayden celebrating its 10th year being designated as a Tree City USA. In order to be a Tree City USA, a community has to have a tree care ordinance and a department responsible for implementing the tree program.

“Through the years, Hayden residents, with leadership provided by residents involved in forestry programs, has made a dedicated effort to improve the town’s healthy tree stock,” Hayden Town Manager David Torgler said in a news release. “The town promotes healthy street tree view sheds and shade trees within town parks providing shade and recreational opportunities and promoting residents to plant and care for trees at private homes. The benefits of trees to Hayden residents are enjoyed daily from summer shade to the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree.”

The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council has five other ReTree Steamboat events taking place this year, and a total of nearly 1,000 trees will be planted.

Volunteers are needed later this month at the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area, where a Yampa River restoration project is taking place. Planting will also take place June 18 and June 20 at Stagecoach State Park. For more information, visit

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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