BHSU faculty, staff, students, community members, and Black Hills Power personnel recently helped plant 19 trees near the University's Softball complex. The tree planting was part of Black Hills Power "Power of the Trees" program.
More than 40 volunteers got their hands dirty Friday afternoon while planting nearly 20 trees near Black Hills State University’s Softball Complex. The trees, donated by Black Hills Power, are part of the regional utility company’s Power of the Trees program.

“As these trees grow and flourish on our campus, they serve as reminder of our deep connection to our community, our environment, and to the principles of education,” said BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp noting that the tree planting follows the University’s commitment to sustainability. “We know we are fortunate to live in this beautiful and unique environment, and we feel it’s our responsibility to take a leadership role in sustainability by providing knowledge and encouragement for our students, the future leaders, to create a sustainable society.”

BHSU faculty, staff, students, community members and Black Hills Power personnel helped plant the 19 trees which included Colorado Blue Spruce, Homestead Elms, and Celebration and Norway Maples.  

Since the first Power of the Trees event in 2009, Black Hills Power has planted more than 450 trees throughout the Black Hills region. The BHSU planting, held in conjunction with the University’s 130th anniversary of its founding, was the kickoff to BHP’s 2013 program. Additional tree plantings including one at Spearfish Prairie Hills Transit, May 29, and one at the Spearfish City Park, June 3, will be held this spring.

“Trees help conserve power, sustain the environment and improve the landscape,” said Chuck Loomis, vice president of operations for BHP. “With the Power of Trees program, we work to improve the environment and help beautify communities we serve while spreading the message that everyone can plant trees. We hope this effort will be a catalyst for additional tree-planting efforts.”

BHSU has made great strides in its sustainability initiative. It was the first University in the state to join the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment and it recently enrolled in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) to assess progress in meeting sustainability goals. The campus also has two buildings which have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and has a new Master of Science Degree in Sustainability which is currently accepting students for this fall.