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My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … CJ Armstrong!!!

CJ Armstrong (ceejay48, #665) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Speak for the Trees Merit Badge!


I have always been interested in the trees growing in our area, but it became more of a “project” to learn more after a fire in July 1994 that destroyed our house and most of the natural wooded area around it. So, in order to replace trees, we did a lot of research on what would grow well, knowing that we could never replace the trees that grew here naturally and took many decades to do so.

We planted Colorado blue spruce, aspen, Ponderosa pine, white fir, yew, Alberta spruce, golden raintree, Japanese pagoda, sour cherry, apple, and pear trees in our yard and they are all doing well. Not all of the native trees were destroyed, and what we do still have growing on our property are: cedar, pinon, cottonwood, and scrub oak. While they are not “trees,” we also have native sagebrush, rabbit brush, and even some prickly pear cactus.


In the immediate area of our house, there are lots of natural wooded areas and orchards and not too great of a need for windbreaks. However, in the dryland farming area just to the northwest of us, there are acres and acres of farmland that are wide open and susceptible to wind erosion. Thus, the windbreaks are a great need and many folks have successfully planted trees that are suitable to the area and the dryland farming concept.

We have some beautiful parks in the towns in our community, and they have planted Colorado blue spruce, Ponderosa pine, and Navajo willow trees there. While not native to this elevation, the blue spruce and Ponderosa pine are native to Colorado higher elevations and they do well because they aren’t far from “home.”

It’s been a challenge to replace trees we lost, but we are happy with what we did plant and the growth we’ve seen. We have some absolutely stunningly beautiful trees in our yard!”


Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, CeeJay, what a marvelous project you have been working on since 1994 and it sounds like you have done a fantastic job “greening” up your farm while preserving the environment. I bet it has been both a challenge and a delight to coordinate these new generations of trees and see the results. The photo of your snow covered tree is breathtaking! Congratulations!

  2. congrats CJ for rising like a phoenix out of the ashes and onto a better richer tree filled life!

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