When is the best time to plant a tree? The answer is “10 years ago.” The second best time to plant a tree however, is today. Trees provide air for us to breathe, shade to help keep us cool, beauty for our eyes to glance upon, and fruit for us to eat. They are just beneficial to be around physically and emotionally. I have fond memories of helping my mom trim our trees, and more than once, seeing just how high I could climb in an old Catalpa tree before I lost my nerve!
Last year, I received a grant from the Golden Belt Community Foundation to start a community orchard in Great Bend. The orchard will consist of 12 apple trees of 2 different varieties and will be located inside the Brit Spaugh Zoo. The orchard will be a community collaboration consisting of the tree care, educational programming including: basic information on trees, how to care for them, how to trim various trees, and other topic as wants and needs emerge. Having an orchard will also provide apples for people in the future. The trimmed branches and some of the fruit may also go to the animals at the zoo for enrichment. With the help of the community working together, the orchard will help provide many benefits that I for one am both excited to see, and proud to be involved with.
With the site approved, we are now working towards having the trees planted by April 15, for optimal growth and survivability. Our first community project to build this orchard will be the planting of the trees and we are looking for volunteers to assist with the building of the orchard. If you are interested in helping with the planting, you can call 620-793-1910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be placed on a mailing list for future important dates.
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-state Research and Extension. One can contact her by email at email@example.com or calling 620-793-1910