(SUN PHOTO/ William Thompson) San Jon residents recieved an $8,000 grant to plant trees around town. Volunteers helped plant some on Thursday.
The village of San Jon recently received a grant for $8,000 from the New Mexico State Forestry Service to purchase trees. On Friday 120 trees were planted around the little-league baseball field and inside the community park.
Robert Abercrombie of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation and Development Service helped write the grant.
“I received technical assistance from director Richard Bull of the conservation and development service,” Abercrombie said. “We had to tell the state forestry service what kind of trees we needed, what kind of soil we had and the village of San Jon had to agree to provide the labor, water and upkeep for the trees.”
Cynthia Lee, San Jon’s deputy clerk, said the trees were needed as a windbreak for the baseball field and shade in the nearby park.
“Without the trees, you have dust blowing in the little kids’ eyes, making it miserable for them to be out there on the field,” Lee said.
Bull explained the dynamics of the trees’ ability to stop wind.
“For a 12-foot tree, the wind travels up over the tree and then travels about 120 feet before it comes back down to the ground,” Bull said, “so already a good part of the field is protected from wind. When the trees get up to 40 feet, the wind will travel 400 feet before it comes down, thus assuring the entire field is protected from wind.”
Bull said the trees will help the field stay cool during hot weather because hot winds will not be blowing across the surface.
National Honor Society students from San Jon High School helped plant trees Thursday. They were also busy tying the trees down to keep strong winds from tearing the newly-planted trees out of the ground.
The majority of the trees were Arizona cypress, known for their hardiness in this part of the country. Some cottonwoods and mulberry trees, known for providing shade, were planted in the park.
Lee said San Jon also received a $1,000 grant from the New Mexico Clean and Beautiful program to pick up litter. San Jon High School sophomores spent 50 hours during their spring break last week, picking up trash around businesses near I-40.
“We spent $600 of the grant money to pay the students to pick up the trash,” Lee said. “We will spend the rest of the money to buy more trees.”