While social distancing is keeping us away from each other, we can fortunately still be in touch with nature. Planting a tree is a great way to spend time in the great outdoors while looking toward the future, which is why this Earth Day, Black Hills Energy is giving away more than 1,000 free trees. Customers can claim a tree through our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Initiative beginning on Wednesday, April 22.
Trees clean our air and water, improve physical and mental health, and beautify our world. They also help us save energy, as a strategically-placed tree can save a homeowner up to 20% on energy costs.
A free tree can be reserved on a first come, first served basis at www.arborday.org/blackhillsenergy. The 3- to 4-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, allowing for social distancing to continue to be maintained.
“Our world is hurting right now, we feel like we have an opportunity to give our customers a small way to help it heal. Our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation in the Energy-Saving Trees program offers us the opportunity to promote the cleaner air, energy savings and other valuable benefits you gain by planting the right tree in the right place,” said Mark Stege, Black Hills Energy’s Vice President of Operations for Wyoming. “This is also an opportunity to look forward to better days ahead, as the tree and its many benefits take root.”
Since beginning the program in 2014, 6,686 trees have been planted through the partnership, and the benefits continue to grow as the trees do. In addition to energy savings, trees improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, reduce the urban heat island effect, and beautify the area around them.
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. “Strategically planted trees block the hot summer sun and cold winter winds to help cut energy usage without sacrificing comfort,” Stege said.
Black Hills is also delivering a 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 at least 48 hours in advance to have underground utility lines marked. It’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law. In Wyoming, you can call 811 toll-free, or schedule online at http://www.onecallofwyoming.com.
Stege 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.
“Underground utility lines may be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind,” Stege said. “It only takes a minute to Call Before You Dig, and it can save untold time and trouble. Please follow the rules and dig safely. We want you and your family to enjoy your new tree for a long, long time.”