John Schoenwolfe of the City of Casper Parks Department sat on the edge of a hole in Conwell Park and showed four children how to properly pull the dirt away from the clump of roots of a young ash tree.

Schoenwolfe, other department workers and  22 kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming spent Tuesday afternoon planting trees in one of the city's oldest parks.

"Trees are so important especially in Wyoming where we don't have a lot outside the city," said Beth Andress of Keep Casper Beautiful.

"They help create oxygen, they help clean our air, they provide us shade, and they provide food for wildlife," Andress said.

The city received a $10,000 grant from the UPS Foundation through Keep America Beautiful for the trees, Andress said. The grant also paid for 30 trees planted in Washington Park last fall, she said.

Previous grants paid for trees along Interstate 25 at the Field of Dreams baseball complex, trees along roads within the North Casper Soccer Complex, native and fruit trees in Goodstein Park, and replacement trees for Eastdale Park.

Conwell Park at East Second and Conwell streets is one of the oldest parks in the city, and many of the trees are aging, Andress said. Two winter storms in recent years also killed tens of thousands of trees in the city, she added.

"So it's important to get in there and replace them as quickly as we can," she said. "As an old Chinese proverb says, 'the best time to plant a tree was yesterday.'"

Trees planted Tuesday included burr oaks, catalpa, and crabapple, Andress said. "Most of the ones we are planting are going to be slow-growing varieties, which do better in our harsh climate, and of course the winter storms don't affect those stronger, slow-growing trees."

The labor came from the Boys and Girls Clubs, which called the city and said some kids wanted to volunteer for a spring break service project, and Andress accepted the offer for planting trees, she said.

The parks department dug the holes with a backhoe, and an arborist with the department shows the kids how to property plant the tree and spread the roots, she said. "And then the kids of course throw the dirt, bury it, and help us mulch."

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