The Centaurus CAP class’ spring backpacking trip to Cal-Wood was a twofer, or actually a threefer: first, the group had fun, they accomplished some much needed tree thinning for their service project, and the topper on this trifecta was getting a major step of their action project accomplished—collecting over 250 rooted seedling trees for replanting. Almost all of Colorado’s mountain forests need thinning because the wildfires that naturally thin the forests have been suppressed for decades. Meanwhile down below in Boulder Valley, there is a need for trees to replace the ones that will die off in the next few years due to an invasion by the emerald ash borer.
When the topic of emerald ash borer was introduced to the Centaurus High School CAP class via a funny video done by a previous CAP group, the class immediately said, “I think we can do something about this!” The plan was to educate themselves and the surrounding community about emerald ash borer, and then give them something positive to do about the problem by providing replacement trees to diversify the city tree canopy and make it more resilient.
The students learned to identify ash trees and found and marked thirty-six of them on school grounds (about a quarter of the trees on the property.) Corey, a geographer from DU, taught the group how to map the trees using GIS (geographic information systems). Then students obtained some samples of emerald ash borer insects and larvae and tree damage and set to work on making an eye-catching piece of art—a giant model of the bug made from plaster cloth and chicken wire.
They crafted an interpretive display and got some brochures from the CSU Cooperative Extension to hand out at a Wednesday night farmers’ market. The students educated people about the emerald ash borer and handed out free trees. About 200 free trees were given out and countless people learned about emerald ash borer! Four CHS students proved that there is no problem too big for you to do at least something to make an impact.
Read more about this action project, which was featured in the Boulder Daily Camera!
Written by Centaurus High School CAP Instructor Erin Angel
See more photos from the action project here!
CAP at Centaurus High School is made possible in part by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) through the Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza program. Click here to learn more!