Cultivating a Greener Wheat Ridge

Anderson Park on March 20. Photo by Frank DeAngeli

This year, it’s not the Lorax who speaks for the trees — it’s the Wheat Ridge Rotary Club.

As part of its larger effort to maintain the beauty and charm of Wheat Ridge, the Rotary Club is piloting its Tree Scholarship Program. The program is set to offer 18 locals a free tree during Wheat Ridge Parks, Forestry and Open Space’s annual Tree Sale (April 20 and 21) — trees for which the club will offer free delivery and planting. The objective of the project is to improve the city’s tree canopy while also offering a touch of nature to those who may not have room in their budgets.

Increasing urban tree density has a number of positive effects on the physical and mental health of residents. Additionally, trees can have a cooling effect on communities with high tree coverage, according to Yale Climate Connections.

Rotary Club Board Member and Project Champion Bob Timm says that inspiration for this project came from a similar event put on last year by Denver’s Rotary Club, during which 30 new trees were planted at City of Cuernavaca Park. The Wheat Ridge Rotary reached out to the Wheat Ridge Parks, Forestry & Open Space Division to ask how they could help, and the answer was to volunteer at the Tree Sale. 

“Then we said ‘Well, hey, how about we do a scholarship for people who don’t have extra money for a tree in their yard?’ We have some able-bodied people with a couple trucks in our club, we could even help plant a few trees,” Timm said.

In addition to the Tree Scholarship program, the Rotary Club is choosing to advocate for foliage in a number of different ways. They plan to speak at the Wheat Ridge City Council meeting on April 8 “ … wearing little tree hats and saying ‘go plant some more trees,’” as Timm puts it. On April 26, they are helping facilitate Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation’s Volunteer Engagement Tree Planting Day at Prospect Park, and May 18 is Tree Day at Crown Hill Cemetery, where the club will help care for overgrown and diseased trees.

Tree Scholarship recipients will be able to choose from 18 different tree options, including multiple varieties of maple and oak, all sourced from Colorado State University’s esteemed nursery. Residents can apply for the scholarship on the Wheat Ridge Rotary website, and the first 18 applicants will be accepted.

Timm, a veteran of the rotary club for more than 20 years, emphasized that all are welcome to come to their meetings, which are held most Mondays at noon at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center (“You even get a free lunch when you come visit”). To learn more about the Wheat Ridge Rotary Club, sign up for the Tree Scholarship program, or make a donation, visit their website at

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