OK. That’s not its actual name. And there were no truffula trees. Or brown Bar-ba-loots.
But this group would make Dr. Seuss proud.
It’s the new non-profit Palmer Tree Coalition and its mission is to protect and preserve the urban forest created by our own Lorax — Springs founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer.
When Palmer arrived in the Pikes Peak region in 1869, it was treeless prairie.
In the years after Palmer’s men drove the first stake to create Colorado Springs in 1871, his town company planted 10,000 trees, which ultimately led to neighborhoods today shaded under canopies of mature elms, oaks, ash and maple trees.
But the recent climate and economy have not been kind to Springs-area trees. Drought stressed the region’s trees, leaving them vulnerable to disease and beetle infestations, which decimated our urban forest.
In the past decade, thousands of trees died or were destroyed. Then the economy cratered, prompting city officials to reduce the parks budget to a stump.
“We are a friends group created to support the city forestry department,” said Nancy Strong, of the coalition. “We are encouraging people to plant and care for trees. We’re hoping to raise some funds and support city forestry and keep our urban forest thriving.”
It was only appropriate the group held its first fundraising effort on Friday. It was Arbor Day.
The group met in a park in the Middle Shooks Run neighborhood and celebrated the day by honoring 41 Columbia Elementary School students who wrote and illustrated essays about trees. Prizes of books and seedlings were distributed.
And there was a tree planting event, of course.
Finally, several coalition members sold several dozen trees for planting. Proceeds will help fund the coalition.
The trees were a variety of hackberry, catalpa and Kentucky coffee trees. Most were balled and bugged in burlap for planting along city streets.
The event kicked off what the coalition hopes will be an ongoing effort to sell trees. Anyone interested in learning more can email PalmerTreeCoalition@gmail.com or call 520-7679 for details..
“We’re trying to carry on the legacy of Gen. Palmer,” said Barbara Bates, one of the coalition members.
“We need trees,” she said. “Trees are so important to making this a human-friendly environment.”
Ever wonder what the Springs would look like without Gen. Lorax, I mean Palmer and his tree-planting vision?
Drive south toward Pueblo and imagine your house. Surrounded by dirt.
Nothing to provide shade. Nothing to stop the wind. To protect birds.
And no truffula fruits for the brown Bar-ba-loots.