One tree per person can make a difference

By Thomas Nelson,

Charles City Rotarians teamed with Charles City High School students to plant trees around town.

The landscaping class at the Charles City High School went around Wednesday afternoon with Rotarians and planted trees by the Charley Western Trail, the Charles City Middle School and Lyons Field.

“In the past couple years Mr. Lundberg, the other agriculture teacher, had planted trees around the school,” said Charles City High School teacher Bret Spurgin. “The international Rotary club wants every rotarian to plant one tree, so this is kind of their plan to plant trees around Charles City.”

The new international president of the Rotary Club set a goal to have every Rotarian plant a tree, said Charles City Rotary Club Community Service Committee Chairperson Chris Garden.

“We bought 50 trees and got every Rotarian a tree and they took them home and planted them,” Garden said about the club’s spring project. “We were looking for a large project, so we decided to build on that.”

The club planted 60 trees Wednesday and plans on planting 60 more next spring.

This is coming at a time with the emerald ash borer is moving through Iowa and wiping out the state’s ash trees. The destructive ash borer larvae were found in Floyd County in June.

Upwards of 150 ash trees have been removed from Charles City prior to the EAB being found.

In addition to replacing ash trees and adding to the tree species variety in the community, the Rotary project is also putting in some shady spots around Charles City.

“They thought it was a good project to do with the high school students to help improve the town,” Spurgin said.

There were two sections of the landscaping and design class working with the Rotarians, with a mixture of junior and senior class students.

Some of the students have previous knowledge and experience with landscaping and some of them have none, Spurgin said.

“This is a really good opportunity for some students to come out and do these types of things,” he said.

Blake Frascht, 16, a junior at Charles City High School, has worked on his family’s farm and has experience planting.

“I drilled the holes for the trees,” Frascht said. He used his own skid loader along with a post hole digger.

“I grew up on a farm, so I’ve been around corn and beans,” Frascht said. He only recently started planting trees as a freshman with Jim Lundberg.

“By us not tearing any down and replanting trees, we’re helping out replacing all the trees,” Frascht said.

This is the first time that Spurgin’s students have gotten together with the Rotarians for a project.

A different set of students will be going with Rotary Club members  in the spring to plant trees again.

“This is something I’m all about continuing, because you can never have enough trees around,” Spurgin said.

Spurgin’s class will also be working on a landscaping project in front the new middle school at the end of this week.

“Putting in all kind of things to improve the look of (the middle school),” Spurgin said.

Landscaping isn’t just mowing lawns. It’s turf management, and installing flowers and shrubs, along with understanding design and color concepts, Spurgin said.

“You have to understand the elements and principles of design,” Spurgin said. “There’s a lot that goes into landscaping.”