Saving our ashes, saving our trees

By Jamie Engelke

While some people love the snow, the Honors Program group, Saving Our Ashes, is not a fan of it. The group has been trying to plant their seven final trees since Fall Free Days; however, due to the unpredictable weather, they have been unsuccessful.

Saving Our Ashes hopes to plant the trees near the walkway between Wahlert Hall and the Alumni Campus Center, and along Loras Boulevard. Last spring, the group planted three trees near the Heitkamp Planetarium and Christ the King Chapel. A total of three new trees have been planted on campus by Saving Our Ashes, with the hopes of planting seven more.

Seniors Jamie Engelke, Connor Halbmaier, and Gabe Smith began this project as sophomores with the help of their mentor, Dr. Sinha, and Honors’ advisor, Dr. VanLaningham. The project was created to help protect trees on campus from the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect which infects and destroys the Ash tree. After campus trees were infected and taken down, the group reacted proactively by planning to plant trees on campus to help replace the ones that were cut down.

Halbmaier’s passion for the project stems from his want to “make some sort of difference while [at Loras], and what better way to do that than to replace the lost trees, bring some natural life back.”

The group believes planting additional trees on campus is worthwhile because of the environmental benefits they provide, such as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, attracting pollinators, providing cooling shade, and making campus more aesthetically pleasing.

The group was planning to plant trees on Wednesday, Nov. 13, but due to snow this has been postponed again. Keep an eye out for the next update about the trees.

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