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(PHOTOS) Cheyenne children celebrate Arbor Day at Holliday Park 

Recognized on April 28, Arbor Day is a nationwide holiday that encourages people to plant trees.

Alta Vista Elementary School students at Holliday Park in April. (Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — People should treat trees with respect and care, local nature enthusiasts say. It’s a message so simple, even a 9-year-old can understand it.

On Friday afternoon, more than 60 Alta Vista Elementary fourth and fifth graders flocked to Holliday Park for Cheyenne’s annual Arbor Day event. Their assignment: to learn more about Arbor Day and participate in nature-inspired activities.

The event was hosted by Cheyenne Urban Forestry, a division within the Parks and Recreation Department charged with maintaining all city-owned trees along the greenway and on city properties, as well as Rooted in Cheyenne, a long-term city tree planting program that works with the division.


Recognized on April 28, Arbor Day is a nationwide holiday that encourages people to plant trees.

To make this year’s event more interactive for attendees, city staff set up sensory stations including an obstacle course made of tree parts, tree planting and maintenance equipment demonstrations and a table for designing wooden necklaces.

By partaking in the festivities, Rebekah Savage, program coordinator for Rooted in Cheyenne, hopes the students will learn to appreciate the city’s vegetation.


“I hope they can find a desire to take care of the plants and to care about forestry,” she said. “It may not be the most exciting thing for fourth and fifth graders, but we did a decent job at making it exciting for them.”

Like Savage, Mark Ellison, manager of Cheyenne Urban Forestry, said he wants the kids to respect local trees and understand the numerous benefits they provide for the city.

“Kids are the future and trees are the future too,” he said. “We want them to understand the benefits of trees and why they shouldn’t rip the limbs off and beat them up like you see so often at the [park’s] playgrounds.”


Each year, the forestry staff invites one elementary school located in an area with low or aging tree canopies to participate in the Arbor Day event, Ellison said. Previous event attendees include students from Goins and Hebard Elementary.

Stephanie Sturtevant, a fourth-grade teacher, said the last time Alta Vista students experienced the city’s Arbor Day event was six years ago. When her fourth graders heard they had been selected, they were “so excited,” she said.

“I think they didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “They didn’t know it would be this fun and it’s fun [for me] to watch them enjoy learning outside.”


Although Friday’s event was kid-oriented, older community members could still celebrate Arbor Day by picking up free Fur Oak and Buckeye seedlings at the park. They could also sign up to volunteer for Rooted in Cheyenne’s April 29 tree planting efforts.

City staff, along with volunteers, will plant 60 trees comprised of 13 different species around the Holliday Park neighborhood. This includes House Avenue to Ridge Road and Pershing Boulevard to Lincolnway.

The area was chosen as part of the Rooted and Branching Out program, which identifies neighborhoods with low or aging tree canopy and allows residents up to two free trees to be planted in or adjacent to the public right-of-way.


The Arbor Day and tree planting events are both funded by a $40,000 grant Rooted in Cheyenne received this year from American Forests, a nonprofit conservation organization, as well as Microsoft. Rooted will also use the money to hold tree care workshops and giveaways for community members, according to Ellison.

Alta Vista Elementary School students cheer one another on during the obstacle course. (Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News)
(Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News).
A child stands inside a parked Aerial lift meant for tree trimming. (Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News).
(Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News)
Fourth and fifth graders design their own necklaces made from wood. (Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News).