Just a few days before Halloween I had a unique and wonderful opportunity to share my passion for arboriculture with a group of Masters of Fine Arts students enrolled in the Nomad 9 MFA program at the Hartford Art School.
The Nomad 9 group had just wrapped up a week-long residency with my co-host and Friendship Forest originator Amanda Lovelee; Friendship Forest was the last stop on their Minnesota visit. Friendship Forest was planted this June in cooperation with City of Saint Paul, and Mississippi Park Connections and provided ample opportunities to discus the art of tree care with these students. We spent the day talking about pruning young trees, the complex relationship between trees and the soil, and the important interactions that exist between trees and humans in urban and community forests.
Looking towards Downtown Saint Paul from within the Friendship Forest
Friendship Forest begins just east of the Lafayette Bridge at Lower Landing Park. The Mississippi River provided water for our new trees planted with the Nomad 9 students.
The morning started out with a overview of tree biology and basic tutorial on tree pruning. Many of the smaller Kentucky coffeetree, river birch, and cottonwood have grown considerably and required some basic developmental pruning to get them growing in the right direction. We closed out the day with planting a few trees to replace some river birch that had died since planting. In the spirit of the original planting, these trees received new Friendship Forest tags adorned with the unique Nomad 9 rabbit logo.
Carol, Director of the Nomad 9 MFA program, tries her hand at pruning a young Kentucky coffeetree.
Bri, an Undergraduate Research Assistant on Team Tree works with Carol and two Nomad 9 students to plant a new river birch. This project utilized the grow tube method using Plantra’s SunFlex system and Greenwell Water Savers.
Friendship Forest tags provide information on each tree with the names of the planters and their name for the tree!
In all I found this event and the interaction with this group of students refreshing, inspiring, and thoroughly enjoyable. Radical creativity, fine arts, and arboriculture are a good mix!
A group of students enjoying a moment in the sun with their newly planted river birch.