CWC students help Stefan Petersen, grounds supervisor plant a tree

The Arbor Day Foundation recognized Central Wyoming College as a 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education institution on Sept. 9. Tree Campus USA is a national program that honors higher education institutions for promoting healthy trees and inspiring others about conservation.

“The Tree Campus family of recognition programs includes Tree Campus K–12 and Tree Campus Healthcare – programs built on the legacy that began with Tree Campus Higher Education,” said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president. “Your campus trees provide spaces of refuge and reflection to students, staff, faculty, and the community.”

CWC had five standards to complete and initiate to become a Tree Campus college. Under the leadership of Grounds Supervisor Stefan Petersen, CWC met the five standards for effective campus forest management which include a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, annual expenditures for a tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and a sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

“My ultimate goal is to plant 12 trees each year,” Petersen said. Petersen along with students and employees helped plant six trees in the spring and plan to plant six more before the end of the school year.

This is the second year in a row CWC has earned this recognition. Sheridan College and CWC are the only two colleges in Wyoming to earn recognition for 2020.

I’d like to plant more fruit trees so students can grab a piece of fruit while they’re heading to class. The long-term goal is to turn the front lawn into an urban forest or arboretum. ”

Petersen plans to continue the goal of being a Tree Campus each year. Sponsoring a student service-learning project is one of the requirements and Petersen has been working with other staff to plan learning projects for students this year.

“I’m working with the new ag instructor, Keith Duren to do plant soil lessons and we also have plans to help students in his class to identify the trees on campus,” Petersen said. There are 400 trees on CWC’s main campus with more than 18 different species of trees. CWC’s Alpine Science Institute also has 400 trees on its campus including an orchard and the largest recognized blue spruce in the state which measures 12 feet 5 inches in circumference.

Petersen said he is working with Ethan Page, farm site manager and instructor at ASI, to set up a project for structural pruning of fruit trees which will include the help of staff and students. 

“Your entire campus community should be proud of this work and the leadership of Stefan Petersen and the committee,” Lambe said.