The next generation

North Platte Parks Director Lyle Minshull explains how to plant a tree as TeamMates mentors and mentees get ready to plant three trees at Iron Horse Park near the 20th Century Veterans Memorial in North Platte on Tuesday evening.

The youths who planted trees Tuesday at Iron Horse Park near the 20th Century Veterans Memorial are young enough to see the fruit of their labor when they reach adulthood.

North Platte Parks Director Lyle Minshull helped a group of TeamMates mentors and mentees complete the tree planting project. He explained the proper way to plant a tree and how to free up the roots to give it the best opportunity to grow.

TeamMates director Molly Morales said one of the mentees was in her car on the ride to Iron Horse Park.

“My husband (Hector) was saying that 36 years ago when he was about the mentee’s age, he planted a tree at Buffalo School,” Morales said. “He said the mentee should go look at it now because it’s a pretty good size tree.”

Morales said Minshull had offered the tree planting as a project for the group.

“Lyle contacted us and we just thought it would be a good opportunity to spend some quality time with your matches and have a little fun,” Morales said.

TeamMates is a mentoring program that was founded by former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne. The program matches mentors with students, and they interact and participate in activities and projects.

Minshull said he welcomed the chance to teach young people about trees’ benefit to the environment.

“Trees clean the carbon dioxide out of the air,” Minshull said. “We need to have more of them around.”

There are more trees being taken out than are being planted worldwide.

“For every 10 trees that are taken out here in Nebraska, only five are planted back,” Minshull said. “Out of those five, only two or three will survive.”

Tuesday’s weather cooperated and the group worked hard as the sun went down behind them.

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