It all started with one little acorn – an acorn that grew into a picturesque oak tree. The oak tree in front of the Henderson Fine Arts Center was planted by Professor Bill Hatch from an acorn he gathered in Utah and then grew into a young tree.
As a student at Brigham Young University, Hatch was fascinated by agarden on the campus that had trees from all over the United States. He decided to bring an English Oak acorn home, planted it in the ground, and then in 1994 donated the young three-foot healthy tree to San Juan College. Hatch wanted students to enjoy the tree for many years, like he enjoyed the trees at his college campus.
Years later, Hatch is still collecting acorns with his granddaughter. He has given over 1,300 acorns of various species to the San Juan College greenhouse: his way of sharing his love of trees with the community.
After Hatch’s initial donations to the greenhouse, Physical Plant Director, Chris Harrelson, suggested San Juan College could join the Tree Campus USA program through the Arbor Day Foundation. “San Juan College was already meeting several of the standards required of Tree Campus USA,” says Harrelson. “We just needed to formalize those requirements through the application process.”
If accepted into the program, San Juan College would be the first college in New Mexico to participate in Tree Campus USA.
“San Juan College promotes healthy trees in this community,” says Chris Harrelson. “We always have an arborist on staff and truly believe we can have a positive impact on this community as a whole in everything from pesticide to pruning to proper care of trees. We are here to not only be a physical example of good tree health, but a resource.”
San Juan College will celebrate Arbor Day on April 26, by inviting community members and students to select from one of the 1,300 tree seedlings that were grown in SJC’s greenhouse. A variety of trees including oak, black walnut, Arizona cypress and bald cypress will be available for the community members and students to take home and plant.
Those who would like to make donations for the trees can do so through the San Juan College Foundation. The funding will be utilized for student scholarships.
For more information on the San Juan College Arbor Day celebration, the tree give away or general tree questions, call Shirley Hoskie at 505-566-3697.