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Park School Helps BLM Plant Trees on Casper Mountain:
Project will help prevent erosion in area burned by Jackson Canyon Fire

By Lesley Collins & Cindy Allen, BLM Casper Field Office

Park elementary students head up Casper Mountain to plant trees.

Park elementary students head up Casper Mountain to plant trees.

Park students work together to plant trees on Casper Mountain.

Park students work together to plant trees on Casper Mountain.

BLM employee Jerry Sleep helps students use a dibble bar.

On a sunny day in May, Park School first and second graders marched up Casper Mountain ready to dig and plant trees. They had their backpacks on, sun hats perched on their heads, gloves ready to go, and plenty of energy.

Park School and BLM teamed up on Wednesday May 7, 2008 to plant trees outside Casper, Wyo., along Highway 220. Student planted trees in an area that was burned by the Jackson Canyon Fire in 2006 and is part of the North Platter River watershed.

This is the second year for the project. “The trees we planted last year washed away with all the moisture,” noted BLM forester Cindy Allen. “This year we are forming water bars with rocks and planting Aspens trees and Chokecherry and Sumac shrubs. Jackson Canyon Fire diminished a lot of vegetation. The trees will hold the water and prevent erosion of the soil.”

There were three parts to planting the trees, and every student got to try out each task. Cindy started out showing them how to gather rocks and form a water bar to prevent the soil from washing away. Students enjoyed roaming around the area finding different sized rocks along with discovering different insects and butterflies.

Next she showed them how to dig holes with a dibble bar and hoedads. Dibble bars and hoedads were very popular and the kids enjoyed using them. Only adults were allowed to use the hoedads and the BLM firefighters were on hand to help with this.

After the hole is dug it’s time to plant the tree. “Trees have a root ball and breathe just like humans do,” said Allen as she showed students how to carefully carry the trees and place them in the holes. The tree roots were dipped in an absorbent gel to aid the roots in retaining moisture.

Park students have prepared for this project all winter, according to Teacher Beth Bergslien. Students learned how to identify plants, animals and insects. They will compare the trees they planted this year to last year and see how many survived. Beth noted, “Some students had homes on the mountain during the Jackson Canyon fire. They are very concerned about another fire and this project helps them.

It was a great day and over 150 trees and shrubs were planted. “This gives kids to opportunity to participate in the watershed, the mountain – their home,” said Allen. 

BLM forester Cindy Allen shows the students how to make a water bar and plant trees.

Students gather rocks to make water bars.

Last updated: 08-20-2008