New Tree Nursery Garden

Tree Nursery Garden by student center a place of growth

October 22, 2019
Ashley DeLeon '23

Directly above, two students work together in planting a sapling; below, a wide view of the nursery facing Dion, and a wheelbarrow gets into the act. (photos by Lauren Read and Ashley DeLeon)

An Ecological Restoration class at Saint Michael’s College has brought new life to campus as students utilized an empty plot of land in front of the Dion Student Center to establish a Tree Nursery Garden. This project would allow more “location-based education” for Saint Michael’s students, using the natural area as a classroom to build relationships — with the greenery as a site, and as a campus community.

The project’s leader and class instructor, environmental studies instructor Trevian Stanger, explained the purpose of this project and the significance of its location.  “As a partnership for the Center of Environment, Green Up Club, and the Environmental Studies Program, we are transforming part of this high profile, heavy-trafficked space from unnoticed lawn into a native tree nursery,” he said, adding that goal is to plant trees selected for the Champlain Valley, obtaining the saplings from the Intervale Center in Burlington, a local nursery for conservation.

When the trees reach proper maturity, students will dig them from this area and transport them to a 360-acre natural area near the Winooski River. The students are also planting seeds and propagating from cuttings. This becomes an ongoing cycle of repeatedly growing trees to promote more planting, “all in the name of ecological restoration and stewardship,” said Stanger of such “location-based education.” Over the past few years, several hundred trees have been planted.

The group is searching for methods of bringing awareness to faculty and students of their tree service as a place for opportunities in recreation, contemplation, and stewardship. Stanger said having an area like this on campus helps to inspire and educate other demographics of the student body who haven’t taken Environmental Studies classes or haven’t yet volunteered in a natural area.

By installing tree beds, landscape fabric, cardboard, and mulch to prepare the area for planting, the team hopes the Nursery Garden will encourage people to learn more about the project and potentially consider getting involved.


Saint Michael's plants a new Tree Nursery Garden

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