Dec. 8, 2014Vol. 45, Issue 3

Broadening Experience, Beautifying Chico

Student-Led ‘Blitz Plant’ Places 32 Trees in Community

Planting a Colorado glow maple are, from left, geography professor Mark Stemen, civil engineering major Gino Ferragamo, construction management major Cameron Keith, Butte Environmental Council executive director Robyn DiFalco, Behavioral and Social Sciences Interim Dean Eddie Vela, recreation major Danielle Baxter, sociology major Meagan Dallas, and construction management lecturer Alan Bond.


Geography and planning and construction management students planted 32 trees in two south Chico neighborhoods Nov. 8, adding shade and beauty to the Butte County Housing Authority project at 1172 Humboldt Avenue and the Torres Community Shelter at 101 Silver Dollar Way.

Known as Blitz Plant, the project was completed as mitigation for the removal of two oak trees during last spring’s Blitz Build community service project at the corner of 8th and Salem Streets in Chico. During that event, construction management students and community volunteers built two duplexes in nine days for the Salvation Army to be used by families in transition.

Construction management major Cameron Keith, left, works with students to plant a Colorado glow maple.

Construction management major Cameron Keith, left, works with students to plant a Colorado glow maple.

Students in GEOG 506: Community Service in Geography researched planting sites and species as part of their assessment of Chico's urban ecology, said geography and planning professor Mark Stemen. Construction management students Erik Anderson and Cameron Keith led about 60 student planters, who worked in teams to place the trees along the sidewalks in those neighborhoods.

Most of the trees and planting supplies were purchased by the Salvation Army as part of the mitigation agreement, and Mendon’s Nursery in Paradise and Floral Native Nursery in Chico also donated several trees. Varieties included Marina madrone (strawberry tree), Rocky Mountain glow maple, autumn purple ash, crepe myrtle, California sycamore, willow oak, and valley oak.

Stemen called the project a model of University and community cooperation.

"Projects like the Blitz Plant allow our students to deepen their understanding of their other academic studies,” he said. “This mitigation tree planting encourages construction management students to contemplate how their specific building project impacted the larger human and non-human community, and asks geography and planning students to wrestle with the internal conflicts inherent in abstract ecological ideals."

Sarah Langford, Public Affairs and Publications. Photos by Sam Rivera, University Student Photographer
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