Tree Steward Program
(LAS CRUCES) -- A new local program is attracting many people, interested in creating more green spaces through out the community. Pamela Crane of Las Cruces is taking part in a class she says is important for the future of the community. "I actually have planted in my yard well over 40 trees. Unfortunately, I have killed a few of them and so this gives me some ideas as to the places that I sort of need a tree right now," she said. She is part of the tree steward program. A project run by the city of Las Cruces parks and recreation department and keep Las Cruces beautiful. Volunteers learn more than just about shade and recreational opportunities. "It's nice to see the variety of trees because if you sort of look around here you see a lot of the same tree done over and over again, and then all of a sudden through this class you see that there is different possibilities for trees here," she said. Participants are learning about all sorts of different trees in the classroom, but outside they're learning too. The group takes tours around local parks to help with their studies. John Mexal is a professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University. "The city is providing this training for this group of volunteers and in return they will provide volunteer hours back to the city as far as tree care and park maintenance," he said. Through a $5,000 grant, leaders with the tree steward program will train twenty volunteers who are expected to contribute about 800 hours. Mexal says trees are very beneficial to any community. "They provide a lot of economic benefit to the community as well as environmental benefit. Obviously, the leaves of the trees absorb a lot of pollutants, give off oxygen which we need, and they will actually intercept rain water and help the storm run off infiltrate into soil rather than running off into the streets and then running into the waste water treatment plant," he said.