The Cottonwood Institute and the Garden Club of Denver teamed up with an amazing group of curious sixth graders from West Denver Preparatory Charter School for a service-learning trip to Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. It was a beautiful sunny day and our mission was to plant cottonwood tree whips for re-planting later in the summer to help increase the native tree population at Chatfield.
With the help of four volunteers from the Garden Club of Denver, we were introduced to the amazing open space and gardens here in Southwest Denver.
We dove into our service project, learning about how cottonwood trees are a pillar of Western riparian habitats and their adaptable ability to grow into a full tree from each young branch or “whip.” Armed with giant clippers and our new knowledge, we set out to cut 36 whips from trees along the drainage creek running through Chatfield.
We then planted these whips in plastic sleeves to set roots, which makes for stronger tree starts when they are planted in the ground later on. With our whips safely started, watered and set aside, the group turned toward further exploration of Chatfield and some good times playing outside and connecting to the outdoors.
This day was a huge success and we were able to contribute a combined 38 hours of service for the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield and plant 36 cottonwood tree whips to be planted on site at a later date. A special thanks goes out to the hard working students at West Denver Preparatory Charter School who sacrificed their Saturday to help out, the Garden Club of Denver, and the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield for making this experience possible.