Tree-planting effort bears fruitEagle Scout Nick Sandbulte can probably spot a nutritious meal anywhere. To help others get a knack for foraging, he recently planted 36 fruit trees in Duluth for his service project.
By: Thomas Vaughn, Duluth Budgeteer News
Eagle Scout Nick Sandbulte can probably spot a nutritious meal anywhere. To help others get a knack for foraging, he recently planted 36 fruit trees in Duluth for his service project.
“I thought it would help out the community. People could pick fruit off the tree to eat as they’re walking along and it’s good for the city,” he said.
Tom Kasper, building and grounds supervisor with Duluth’s Park Maintenance division, has known Sandbulte since childhood, serving as his Cub Scout master. Kasper advised him on the project, which resulted in 19 plantings throughout Washington Square Park in
Lakeside, and 16 new trees near the eastern
entrance to the Duluth Lakewalk.
“Nick had a group of Boy Scouts come out on a Saturday in May and they planted fruit trees, mainly apples, but there’re a few cherry trees as well,” he said while looking around at the young trees in Washington Square Park. “Every time they drive by, from now until whenever they stop driving by, they’ll recognize these trees as something they did to benefit their community.”
Many communities across the country are revisiting how they use their urban green spaces. In some municipalities, planting fruit trees was even banned. That has never been the case in Duluth, according to Kasper, who spends some time conducting research into how other cities are revitalizing green space.
“A lot of communities across the country are revisiting the uses of their green spaces and looking at creative ways, like we’re doing here, of planting fruit trees that produce food that help feed the citizens of that community,” said Kasper. “So, whether it’s Boston or Seattle or Madison or wherever it happens to be, all those communities are looking at their green spaces and utilizing them differently, and I think using them better, for their communities.”
At Stowe Elementary School, a group of second-grade students planted eight apple trees in Birch Park. Kasper mentored the group along with second-grade teachers Peg Radakovich and Lisa Heehn.
“I thought it was a really great experience because the kids not only got to partake, the people Tom picked to help made the kids do the work,” said Radakovich. “It just teaches the kids how to be stewards and makes them stakeholders in something kind of cool in their community.”
Rheanna Letsos is with AmeriCorps, and assigned to Stowe. She has worked with students on this and other outdoor projects.
“It’s important for kids to have access to healthy, local foods, learn about the environment, and experience what it means to have an impact, ” said Letsos, who works with kindergarten through third-grade students on many outdoor projects and activities.
2012 is the first year of visibility for this service-learning initiative. Kasper is the coordinator for the project. He hopes to plant pear, peach, and apricot trees in future years.
“Any kind of effort like this, whether it’s tree plantings or working on our Lakewalk, any time we can engage the community in a project that’s volunteer-based is a good thing for the community.”