On Friday, April 26, about 25 Colgate students and Hamilton Central School students turned out to plant trees southeast of the Old Ski Hill. The goal of the project is to reforest a portion of a 2.5 acre plot of land that has previously been mowed. See image above. The reforestation project was first identified in our 2011 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan as an action item to achieve carbon neutrality by 2019. Students in the Fall 2011 version of ENST 390 researched the feasibility of this project and worked out many of the logistics. In the end, black locust was selected because it sequesters carbon at a high rate (over 4,000 lbs of carbon per tree over the life of the tree), it is a nitrogen-fixer helping to make the soil more nutrient rich, and finally the wood is rot-resistant and is often used to build fence posts. This ensures that the carbon in the wood remains “locked” even after the life of the tree.
Last year, students planted about 500 tress covering about one-acre of the plot. This year, we planted another 500.
Colgate students paired up with students from Hamilton to form teams. One member of the team would sink the shovel into the ground and open up a hole. Another team member would insert the tree’s root system and a third team member would close the hole and pack the earth around the root system.
Besides reducing our campus carbon footprint, this project brings together area children with Colgate students in a fun way.
We are already looking forward to next year’s event!