The Platteville Community Arboretum presented an $18,713.68 check, funded by a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant, to UW–Platteville to plant 4,000 seedlings in UW–Platteville’s Memorial Park.
Fifty volunteers planted a variety of trees including silky dogwood, hackberry, sycamore and river birch. Another 53 larger trees were also funded and planted by Southwest Landscaping.
“When PCA learned that the university could not apply for these tree replacement grants after the June 2014 tornado, but PCA as a nonprofit could, we moved immediately to apply for the grant knowing we could have the trees planted at UW–Platteville,” said PCA’s Gene Weber. “PCA has a long history of collaborative programs with the university and specifically with the Reclamation, Environment and Conservation Program headed up by Dr. Yari Johnson.”
“This is a wonderful example of community leaders looking out for each other; only nonprofits could apply, which eliminated the university,” said PCA’s Angie Wright. “But nonprofits could apply to use the granted funds at a university.”
“We were very pleased that PCA reached out to us at our time of need and offered to do this for the university,” said UW–Platteville vice chancellor Rob Cramer.
Johnson places many Reclamation students in real life situations like the Platteville Community Arboretum
“Not only did the students see what a destructive tornado can do to a natural area, but they also realized, well, we can recover from it, we can plant trees, and they’re learning to plant trees, which is amazing,” said Johnson. “Students will take care of them through the years. All of it is going to be a learning experience. The students are going to have a lot of opportunities to gain skills they can use to go out to find jobs in the future.”
PCA president Ric Genthe said the university–arboretum collaboration not only helps the two entities involved, it enables students to gain tremendously in developing real life skills including networking skills. In September a former student of Johnson’s who had been a PCA Intern was hired by the DNR. She had used PCA board members as references.
“Certainly collaboration is a win-win in so many ways,” said Weber.