By Michael Heins
Community urban reforestation efforts add to Havre's natural beauty and help to make our community a nicer place to live.
The Havre Park and Recreation Department and the Hill County Conservation District begin their second annual community tree planting program.
The Hill County Conservation District has started an awareness program which begins the last week in April. The district will work in conjunction with IGA to provide the family of a new born child, at the hospital, with a seedling.
"This is a neat way of welcoming a young one into the world, the idea for living for living," said Dave Wilson, of the Havre Parks and Recreation Department.
This is connected to Stewardship Week which begins the last week of April.
"Last year, there were 17 trees picked up at IGA in the month of April for this program," Wilson said. "Basically, the tree program is run by the Task Force for Urban reforestation (TURF)."
The TURF committee works to get education on trees to the community as well as planting, removal, pruning and trimming advice.
"We are a resource for questions about your trees, if you want it pruned or trimmed," he said.
The TURF program has been in existence for four years. The TURF committee came into existence as a result of a freeze in 1987. The conditions were mild and then it suddenly dropped to 10 degrees below zero. A lot of trees were damage in that period, mostly green ash.
"The creation of the organization was in response to the damage and we began to looking at the long-term maintenance issue," Wilson said. "The committee has been involved in of planting, removal and creating comprehensive tree ordinances. Another reason for the creation of the committee was to celebrate Arbor Day."
Over the course of several years there have been several activities that the committee has been involved by working with various parks and school grounds, Wilson said. These past programs were not successful because of care, conditions and vandalism, this is a continued effort though, he said.
The committee has worked with the Gary and Leo's IGA in a program called the Home Town Tree Program. Both IGA and the Turf committee want the public to become more aware of tree planting activities. IGA gave away 1,500 to 1,800 seedlings a year, this includes a variety of species.
The committee also works to educate children about trees.
"We started a program of planting with the local schools in 1994 by providing seedlings to children," Wilson said. "Anyone can get seedlings from IGA. We geared the program toward second grade."
It is an educational program and each school is scheduled for a two-week planting starting in April. The idea is to encourage the knowledge and understanding of trees and what it takes to care and nurture the trees and what it takes for some of the larger trees on the boulevard to grow, Wilson said.
"We encourage the kids to take care of the trees up to fifth grade and beyond. After that they can donate the tree to the city parks," Wilson said.
Some of the incentives for this program are a follow-up visit to the classrooms and an art contest.
The kids can win a savings bond and have a chance to go on to the regional and possibly national levels. The regional winners receive a $250 savings bond and the national winner will receive a $5,000 savings bond.
Another program that the TURF committee started is the memorial tree planting program. In this program families or friends can purchase a tree as a memorial to a lost loved one. This includes a plaque, tree and planting. They encourage family members to take part in the planting.
The plaque will be put by the tree in order to identify who the memorial is for and who donated it.
For more information, contact the Havre Parks and Recreation Department at 265-5781 or the Hill County Conservation District at 265-