Chadron’s tough growing conditions threaten and claim many young plants. Some, however, are fortunate enough to live on the Chadron State College campus and receive extra doses of care and attention.
Horticulturist Lucinda Mays has been instrumental in the increased number, variety and artistic design of campus plantings, a movement which grew measurably during the administration of Dr. Janie Park. Mays is quick to deflect the spotlight and shine it on the Campus Arboretum Volunteers, the grounds crew and her assistants.
If a young plant doesn’t survive, Mays and company have to replace it. She uses many adapted or native plants to reduce mortality. “It all really counts. First, the initial installment and second, the day in, day out and year in, year out care so the plants will last decades. My goal is to create and provide restful spots for students, faculty and visitors.
Landscaping areas around campus are available to be named in honor or memory of a family member or loved one.
Mays said, “The impact donors make with their support is huge. This kind of gift, even though it may not sound glamorous to maintain plants, is lasting and meaningful.
“If we care for these trees properly, some of them will last 80 years and if we don’t they will last 25 years,” she said.
Over the past few months, about 600 native shrubs and 120 bunch grasses were planted on the west-facing slope of the Burkhiser Complex. The 11,000 square-foot plant bed was mulched with special shredded and chipped pine that amends the alkaline soil and doesn’t blow away in high winds. The plants will be watered, in part, from snow and rain runoff captured in a 3,500-gallon cistern inside Burkhiser.
—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator