A group of strong-backed green-thumbed residents spent Friday morning planting trees around the Big Well Museum.

A group of strong-backed green-thumbed residents spent Friday morning planting trees around the Big Well Museum.

“The tree board met and we decided that the perfect location to landscape was the Big Well Park,” said Greensburg Tree Board member Ann Dixson. “We chose the Big Well Park because not only will it be used by members of the community but also by people passing through.”

The City of Greensburg received the trees as a prize for the Siemens 2011 Sustainability Award, which “… recognizes communities that are successfully taking on the challenges of 21st century sustainable development” according to their official website.

The Tree Board recommended to city officials that the Big Well was a preferred location of the trees. 

Dixson said the grant allowed them to expand the original scope of the park.

The two-block Big Well Museum and Park area will have 56 total trees planted in time for the scheduled May 26 grand opening. 

The Siemens grant also provided funding for drip irrigation. 

A group of 30-40 volunteers spent Friday morning digging and planting the 25 crab apple trees of two different varieties, Prairie Fire Crab Apple and Spring Snow Crab Apple.

“They will bloom next year and they are a small-to-medium sized ornamental tree. They’ll flower a brilliant rose color and the Spring Snow will bloom white,” added Dixson.

The park will have a wide variety of evergreen and deciduous trees and Dixson said the architects have spaced the trees as to allow a picnic pavilion to be placed in the park at a later time.

“People think of trees as part of a forest, but they are also an important part of our own communities,” said Program Director at the Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) Leland Milstein. “They create a stronger sense of community by defining space and they have aesthetic and quantifiable benefits. They improve air quality, they reduce surface temperatures and energy use by providing shade and they increase property value.”

ACT is the non-profit organization that administers the Siemens Award.

“Trees are a promise for the future,” added Dixson. “Prior to the tornado this community had many, many tree-lined streets. That is one of the things we miss the most. Today my granddaughter Amelia Barnes was participating and helping us plant trees. By the time she is an adult, these trees will be shading the park.”