On a cold but sunny January morning, Larimer County commissioners, Colorado state legislators and critical partners toured the Colorado State Forest Service Seedling Tree Nursery on the Foothills Campus of Colorado State University. Along with CSFS staff, the group walked through the aging nursery facilities and learned how seedlings are grown for conservation and reforestation.
Last year, the Colorado Legislature passed House Bill 22-1323 that dedicated $5 million to fund improvements to the nursery. During the tour, Nursery Manager Scott Godwin showed the lawmakers and partners around the nursery grounds. He described the progress made with the funding, next steps and future opportunities for success and expansion.
The nursery was established in 1957 and some of the equipment and infrastructure has not been updated in many decades. This leaves a tremendous opportunity to modernize the nursery facilities, increase seedling production, improve the quality of seedlings and make the nursery more energy and water efficient. This increase in seedlings is vital to meet the needs to reforest vast areas in Colorado degraded by wildfires, floods and drought fueled, in part, by climate change.
The CSFS Nursery grows seedlings using seeds collected from the wild across the various regions of Colorado. Using regionally collected seeds allows for the preservation of native genetics and produces trees adapted to the particular habitats and conditions for our state. These trees will then have the greatest rate of success in the field and the most meaningful impact on conservation and reforestation efforts. The CSFS Nursery is committed to this mission and is excited about the opportunity to expand the Nursery’s capacity to grow high-quality, low-cost seedlings for both private and public projects for the state of Colorado.
Thank you to Larimer County Commissioners Jody Shadduck-McNally, John Kefalas and Kristin Stephens, Colorado state legislators Tammy Story, Lisa Cutter and Donald Valdez, and Rob Addington with The Nature Conservancy for taking time to tour the nursery and ask important questions. Initial work and improvements at the nursery should begin in 2023.