Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

PeaceJammers plant trees in Sun Valley

More than 80 PeaceJammers and 20 DU students got down and dirty Friday afternoon in an effort to plant more than100 trees in Denver Housing Authority’s (DHA) Sun Valley neighborhood.

The event, part of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s initiative to plant a million trees in Denver during the next 20 years, was spearheaded by the Park People, a nonprofit that frequently recruits DU students for its tree planting program.

“We offer DU students an opportunity to do outreach in some of Denver’s most underserved communities,” says Park People Executive Director Patrick Hayes.

PeaceJam is a clear match for his organization’s ultimate goal of connecting communities, Hayes says.

For three hours, youths worked in small groups with PeaceJam mentors, each group planting 10 or more trees. From hauling mulch to meeting new faces, the participants embodied the weekend’s cry for a global call to action. The new trees will dramatically increase the canopy of one of Denver’s poorest communities.

“It’s cool to help people who maybe don’t have the time or the ability to do a project like this,” said PeaceJammer Sabine Kunz of Boulder, who views the project not only as practical, but symbolic, of caring for nature.

Hayes couldn’t agree more. The Park People’s donation of more than 100 trees illustrates the organization’s support for Hickenlooper’s goal. For Hayes, the planting project, a collaboration between community groups, DHA, DU and PeaceJam participants from across the globe, echoed the spirit of PeaceJam.

“At its heart, PeaceJam is about connecting people in their communities despite their different backgrounds,” says Hayes.

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