Workers from Black Hills Energy move a tree into its new home in Light Park Wednesday afternoon. The company planted 10 trees near the new Girl Scout Cabin. This is the fourth year the company has worked with the Liberal community to bring more trees to help improve the landscape of the city. Daily Leader photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
While Southwest Kansas may be limited in the population of trees compared to other parts of the country, for the past four years, Black Hills Energy has been working with the Liberal community to help increase the amount of trees in the area.
Wednesday, officials from the company helped plant 10 new trees in Liberal’s Light Park. The project is part of a partnership with the community to plant trees throughout the city.
Deanna Burkhart, supervisor of gas operations for Black Hills, said this is the fourth year the company has planted trees in Liberal. In its first year, the project included the planting of trees at Liberal Cemetery, and after trees were put in near the Parks and Recreation Center in Blue Bonnet Park the following year, Black Hill has put trees in Light Park the last two years.
“This is part of helping the city out with its beautification program,” Burkhart said.
She added city officials pick the location and the type of trees for the project on an annual basis.
The planting is part of Black Hills’ Power of Trees program, which is aimed at planting dozens of trees in communities throughout the company’s Kansas natural gas service territory.
Power of Trees emphasizes that individuals can make a positive contribution to their community. The average tree in its lifetime will consume one ton of carbon dioxide and covert it to life-sustaining oxygen.
The Power of Trees is not limited to Kansas either. Black Hills partners with employee and community volunteer groups throughout its seven-state service territory to plant trees and raise awareness about the ability of trees to sustain the environment, improve the landscape and conserve energy.
“Natural gas is America’s environmentally friendly fuel, so it’s a natural fit for us to promote a tree-planting program here that also helps the environment,” Burkhart said. “Our desire with this program is to work within our communities to improve the environment and empower people to do something meaningful for their hometown.”
Black Hills employees and their community partners are planting trees in parks, on school grounds in new public spaces and other areas. Trees help purify air, help to stop erosion, reduce heating and cooling costs by providing windbreaks in winter and shade in the summer, improve neighborhoods by serving as sound barriers and create habitat for birds and other wildlife, even in urban settings.