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Celebrate Earth Day locally and plant a tree

By Carin R. Kirkegaard

Earth day Art

The first Earth Day was marked more than 50 years ago on April 22, 1970, and advocates from groups and organizations across the world have been rolling up their sleeves and doing the work to care for Mother Earth and her environment ever since. Locally, many schools, businesses, community groups and nonprofit organizations provide opportunities for residents passionate about caring for the planet to get involved – whether by volunteering at a one-time event or by participating in ongoing projects.

Through the adage “reduce, reuse, recycle” the Douglas County Conservation District (DCCD) has a mission to help the planet by promoting projects through education that encourages sustainable use of natural resources – balancing the needs of agriculture and urban growth.

Traditionally, planting a tree on Earth Day is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to positively help the environment. In addition to beautifying an area, trees improve air quality by producing oxygen and filtering out pollutants from the air. Strategically planted around buildings, trees reduce costs to cool homes as well as lowering pollutants expelled into the environment from running air conditioners. Trees contribute raw materials for things like buildings, newspapers and books. They are renewable, biodegradable and recyclable.

Tree plantings are a staple of the DCCD Earth Day celebrations. Through the organization’s annual plant sale, DCCD sells evergreens and willow seedlings that are grown in forests around the state and are finished in greenhouses by the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins for individuals interested in planting and/or gifting a tree.

Those looking to lend a hand planting trees locally can sign up to volunteer with the Town of Castle Rock and the Earth Day Willow Conservation Project. For nearly a decade, volunteers have been restoring disturbed areas along Sellers Gulch in downtown Castle Rock and at Philip S. Miller Park. The project harvests willow branches from healthy areas upstream and plants them along the banks of the Gulch and drainage areas currently being restored from development.

To learn more about the DCCD annual plant sale, visit To learn more about volunteering with the Earth Day Willow Conservation Project, visit To learn more about Earth Day and how to contribute to environmentalist projects, visit



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