Saturday, April 28, 2012

UIS students plant 3,500 trees as part of Springfest service project

Almost 200 University of Illinois Springfield students helped plant over 3,500 trees at Carpenter and Gurgens Park in Springfield on Arbor Day. It was all part of the Springfest service event.

“It’s a lot of fun being out here with my teammates,” said Rachel Boyd, a senior political science and psychology major. “A lot of us aren’t use to being out here and doing all kids of manual labor, so it’s kind of a culture shock for a lot of us.”

While it may have been hard work for some, junior Nathan Burkman said it is worth the time and effort. The tree planting was his first major volunteer event.

“You don’t realize how it is until you get out here and then do it,” said Burkman, a criminal justice major. “Once you’re out here doing it, you realize maybe you should get involved.”

The students spent the afternoon digging holes, placing protectors over the trees, and making sure the plants received enough water to grow successfully.

“We’re trying to instill a sense of environmental responsibility in our students and a sense of commitment to community in our students and this serves both purposes,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

A service event is a relatively new part of Springfest, a week-long event during which students compete in a variety of fun and educational events.

“It’s a great way to do something fun and good for our community as well. I’m glad they put together as our final Springfest event,” said Boyd.

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