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 Black Hills State University students help plant trees on campus during an Arbor Day celebration. Three trees were planted on the south side of the Life Science Lab on campus. BHSU groundkeepers answered questions and provided tips on planting, maintaining and pruning trees. 

Stephen Peep, a groundkeeper at Black Hills State University, shows students the proper way to prune trees and shrubs during a special event on Arbor Day at BHSU. In addition to tree pruning, students helped plant three trees on campus. 

In celebration of Arbor Day, Black Hills State University students, staff and community members helped make the campus a bit greener.

The group planted trees and helped with the pruning of trees on campus April 24. The event was held during Outdoor Week at BHSU. The Arbor Day celebration was coordinated through BHSU’s new tree planting committee, whose goal is to increase the number and diversity of trees on campus.

Eric Hanson, grounds crew leader at BHSU, educated the group on various types of trees, planting strategies and maintenance tips. Stephen Peep and April Yenglin, both groundkeepers at BHSU, also helped students as they trimmed trees, beautifying the campus. The group planted three trees on the south side of the Life Science Lab on Arbor Day. The trees were a black alder, purple locust and an ash tree. Hanson said ash trees are native to the Black Hills and Great Plains region.

BHSU lost more than 200 trees during Winter Storm Atlas in 2013.

“There was a lot of tree trimming, pruning and removal up until now,” Hanson said. “We’re getting back on track and starting to replace many of those trees on campus. Our goal is to plant 300 new trees on campus this year.”

Already, nearly 70 trees have been planted. More than 100 of those trees will be part of the new Crow Peak residence hall on campus.

Emily Boni, a biology major from Okaton, said she enjoyed spending the afternoon creating a more green campus.

“I’m happy we have a program at BHSU for Arbor Day,” Boni said. “This is an opportunity to plant new trees on campus and learn about the maintenance of trees. It’s important to do that.”

“I love planting trees on Arbor Day,” Hanson told the group. “When you’re alumni you will come back to campus and be able to see the great work you’ve done here.”