Fruit trees were planted at Schilletter-University Village (SUV) Community Center, and shrubs were planted at the Iowa State Arboretum by students in leadership and learning studies as their capstone project.
Three apple, two cherry and two pear trees were planted by volunteers at the SUV Community Center on Wednesday. Additional shrubs were planted at the Iowa State Arboretum, with around 11 people attending.
Students minoring in leadership and learning studies developed the tree-planting project over the course of the spring, summer and fall 2020 semesters. Most students in the minor are also in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Samantha Blitzer, senior in agriculture and life sciences education, said the tree planting was their class' way of bringing together the community and diversifying the nature surrounding the community.
Blitzer lives at SUV and is a part of SUV Community Council, which she said inspired her to choose that location for planting.
“I can see that the community is really diverse,” Blitzer said. “There are families, there are younger students and there are animals. It’s a full community on its own. It was really just a blessing to be able to use the space.”
Blitzer also said tree trimming, watering and other maintenance will be done by facilities management at each respective location. The trees are still in need of a pollinator, but Blitzer expects the crab apple trees in the area to be sufficient. Fruit is expected to develop within one to two years.
Trees hold a special place in her heart, as Blitzer grew up in a forest in New Jersey.
“Being Jewish, even more so, it’s a mitzvah to plant a tree,” Blitzer said. “We have a holiday for the trees. It’s really something that’s part of my core values as a person, and it’s really about helping the community as well.”
Emma Duff, senior in environmental science, said that facilities planning and management dug the holes for tree planting before the event.
“We had the trees prepared for us, so we just had to take the trees out of the buckets and put them in,” Duff said. “We put the dirt back into the holes, put the mulch around them, watered them and put chicken wire and stakes around to secure the tree.”
She said the chicken wire was put in place to protect trees from wildlife, and the learning and leadership sciences class will be checking tree growth.
Duff also said she learned innumerable ways to develop her leadership skills and knowledge by aiding in the development and execution of the plantings.
“What the [community] is getting out of it is just bringing everyone together in different ways,” Duff said.