The people of Mendoza, Argentina, place a very high value on their trees. "You can kill a person but not a tree," they believe, but the somewhat facetious statement reflects their inclination to punish people as severely for killing trees as for killing people, says Antonio Riquelme.
Riquelme is an Argentine native recently transplanted to Grantsville, Tooele County. He's seen the results of an entire community working together in a civic effort in his former hometown near the Andes mountains.As Riquelme became acquainted in Grantsville, the lack of young trees and the removal or death of established trees was of special concern. His inquiring into ways to make the city greener and more attractive led him to become involved with the Grantsville Beautification League. Organized under the town's parks and recreation department, its purpose is to involve as many citizens as possible to make the community a better place to live.
"We'd like to have everyone grow more green shrubs, tall trees and have flower beds to make Grantsville more beautiful," says Riquelme. Grantsville has some money to help in the effort and is establishing a mini-park plaza on the site of an old school. Academy Square was the name chosen for the centerpiece of the beautification process.
The Beautification League, of which Riquelme is now president, hopes that with a Colorado blue spruce (the state tree) planted on it, the square will set the example for future efforts that will involve all citizens.
The league is also encouraging the tree-planting effort by taking the message to the schools to inform youth about the role of trees in their lives. Riquelme would like to see "every Grantsville resident be aware of caring for the trees growing now and planting more in looking toward the future."