Students joined faculty and community members in planting trees on Oct. 14. Photo by Bailey Hovland.

Over 50 students, faculty, and community members met the morning of Saturday, Oct. 14 to plant a swath of trees east of Concordia’s soccer fields for an event hosted by the Student Environmental Alliance.

The group convened at the planting site at 8:45 a.m. and participants continued to trickle in throughout the morning despite the cold weather. SEA Co-President Haylee Worm expressed both thrill and surprise at the turnout.

“We took over this event from Concordia’s sustainability coordinator, Samantha Westrate and have been planning for just a couple of weeks. And I was so worried that it would rain this morning,” Worm said. “ But people are still here, they got their Sandy’s Donuts and now they are planting trees. I’m just really impressed because I know it’s hard for students to get up on a cold Saturday morning.”

Jerry Raguse, Concordia’s head of grounds, was also pleased at the number of participants. In just an hour, the group had planted 30 trees.

“The students came out in force and we’ve accomplished a lot in this amount of time,” Raguse said. “It’s looking really good at this point.”

Raguse explained that the new installation of bur oak, elm, hackberry, honeylocust, linden, Ohio buckeye, and quaking aspen trees would be more long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing than the original “shelter belt” that had previously been in place.

“The shelterbelt was planted in the 1940’s and the trees, mainly elm and almond ash, acted as a windbreak,” Raguse said. “There’s some problems with disease in both of those trees and they were planted too close together, so a lot of them died.”

With the new variety of trees, disease and harmful insects will have less chance of spreading. Most of the original trees were recently removed from the area. Thanks to the added shelter provided by Moorhead’s housing expansion, the new trees can facilitate more of a park setting than just a windbreak.

“I proposed re-planting so that we could revitalize the area. We’ll be planting some grass in here and I think it’ll just be a really nice area,” Raguse said.

Students echoed Raguse’s excited outlook on the area’s future. Marin Wilts, a first-year biology student at Concordia, attended the re-planting and said that she hoped to return to the site long after her time at Concordia was over.

“Imagine coming back here in 20 years and saying, ‘That’s my tree!’” she said.

Other students were drawn to the tree-planting by the opportunity to engage in their community and take part in environmental sustainability. Signe Johnson, a sophomore at Concordia, said that she and her friends love to connect over environmentally-focused events.

“We went to Yellowstone for Earth day and a climate march and we thought this would be a really great way to get back together and do something for Concordia,’ Johnson said. “ It’s a fun social way to help Concordia make the area better than it was.”

The event attracted people from across the community. Concordia students were joined by several faculty members and even MSUM student Claire Carpenter. She heard about the event through her involvement in Concordia’s Circle K chapter, the collegiate equivalent of Kiwanis. Carpenter hoped that more MSUM students would take part in service activities through the tri-college system.

“Stuff like this is really nice because you get to meet new people. I have a lot of new Cobber friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Carpenter said. “Hopefully people will hear about this and get a little more inspired to help out their community.”

Karissa Chouinard

Karissa is a junior double-majoring in Communications and English Writing. She enjoys participating in performance arts and exploring national parks. This is her first year on the Concordian team!

More Posts