LINCOLN, NEB — Apr. 21, 2022 — Planting a tree is a great way to leave a leafy legacy, positively impact the environment, and reduce energy costs. That is why this Earth Day, Black Hills Energy is giving away more than 800 free yard trees. Beginning on Friday, April 22, customers can claim a tree through Black Hills’ partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Program. A free tree can be reserved by Black Hills Energy customers on a first come, first served basis at www.arborday.org/blackhillsenergy.
The one- to three-foot-tall dormant trees will be delivered directly to customers for spring planting from May through early June and are small enough that they can be planted by an individual. Since beginning the program in 2014, nearly 9,000 trees have been planted by Black Hills Energy customers through the partnership with Arbor Day Foundation.
Additionally, Black Hills Energy is partnering with the City of Lincoln Parks and Recreation and the volunteers from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy to plant 9 trees at Rickman’s Run for Arbor Day. This effort is funded by a $20,000 commitment by Black Hills Energy’s corporate foundation to celebrate their 20th anniversary of making legacy gifts across the eight states served by the natural gas and electric utility.
“Over the past few years, spending time outdoors in our communities has been more important than ever,” said Kevin Jarosz, Black Hills Energy’s vice president for Nebraska. “Our eight-year partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation in the Energy-Saving Trees program offers us the opportunity to positively contribute to cleaner air, energy savings and other valuable benefits gained by planting the right tree in the right place. This year we are pleased to partner with the City of Lincoln to plant several 15-gallon Northern Catalpa and Shade master Honey locust trees at Rickman’s Run as part of our corporate Foundation’s milestone anniversary and Lincoln’s Arbor Day celebration.”
The legacy benefits of trees continue to grow, just like the trees grow over time. Trees clean our air and water, improve physical and mental health, and beautify our communities. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people. In one year, a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange. Trees can also help save energy, as a strategically placed tree can save a homeowner up to 20% on energy costs.
“The Energy-Saving Trees program enables utility providers with an opportunity to become directly involved with their communities in meaningful ways,” said Kristen Bousquet, program manager at the Arbor Day Foundation. “Days like Earth Day and Arbor Day are the perfect opportunity to allow individuals to celebrate and secure the future of the planet. This unique program benefits utility providers, their customers and the communities they serve by finding natural ways to conserve energy.”
Black Hills Energy customers can use the handy online tool at www.arborday.org/blackhillsenergy to quickly determine where to plant a tree to gain the most energy-saving benefits.
Black Hills is also delivering an important safety message: At least two business days before you plan to dig, whether you are a homeowner planting a tree or a contractor excavating with a backhoe, Call Before You Dig to have underground utility lines marked. It’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law. In Nebraska just make a free call by dialing 811 to reach Nebraska 811. You also can schedule online at www.ne1call.com
Black Hills Energy also urges customers to follow the safe digging practices listed at www.blackhillsenergy.com/safety. Those include using white spray-paint to mark the area where you plan to dig before line locaters arrive.