For at least the fourteen years Debbie Hepp has been working for the Campbell County Conservation District, the Seedling Trees program has been a huge success in fostering conservation efforts for all of Wyoming. Hepp, a CCCD Program Assistant, says that the Seedling Trees program provides local landowners access to the native trees and shrubs that help conserve natural resources.
Seedling trees can be anywhere from six inches to two feet tall, and the Conservation District makes them available in bundles of 25 or 30, depending on the species. Over a dozen varieties are available this year, from Chokecherry to Colorado Blue Spruce. Hepp says all the seedlings are locally sourced from the Colorado State Forestry Service, which means they're native to our region and more likely to succeed in our climate.
The trees, both bareroot and tube, can be grown to provide windbreaks on your land, to cut back on soil erosion. That's the overall goal of local conservation programs, Hepp says: to stabilize your property, keeping the moisture in the soil, and the soil where you want it, and not blowing down your road. The process can be a long one, and not always easy.
"They're a lot of work, and if things don't go right the first time, it can be discouraging," Hepp says. "But we provide a packet with information like tree spacing, and how many rows you'll need for a windbreak."
The Conservation District also can use a soil survey online that they can check, to zero in on your property and provide suggestions for the optimum trees suited for your land. And if you have any trouble -- like with disease or pests -- the Campbell County Extension Office (which is not a part of the Conservation District, but is willing to help out anyone having trouble*) has a horticulturist on staff to keep your trees successful, as well.
There's no minimum purchase, and it's open to anyone. Download their order form online, and order by April 2 to get your trees in time for planting in May. Hepp says that the most trees they've ever sold through the program was over 12,000, but on average they provide two to three thousand trees to Campbell County property owners each year.
*The Campbell County Conservation District is a member of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce. Like the Chamber, they are not a part of the Campbell County Government. They are mostly grant-funded, though they do receive funds from the 1% Optional Sales Tax.
Brenda Kirk is a writer with over two decades of journalism experience.