Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- September 20, 2017

What's so special about this wall in one of the classrooms of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens' new Grand Conservatory? It has a history.

When the conservatory was being built, it was necessary to cut down a number of old Ponderosa pine trees. You might be surprised to learn that this generated some controversy. Why? It all started back 150 years when the city was first founded on land that had not one native tree. Getting trees to grow here is a real challenge, so cutting down healthy trees is something few take lightly, even now.

Unwilling to let the trees go to waste, Gardens' director Shane Smith, who's a great proponent of recycling and reuse, arranged to have them milled into wood. During that process, the miller discovered that the trees had been infected with pine bark beetles and would have had to be cut down, even if the conservatory hadn't been being built. So, what was first thought to be a problem turned out to be a good thing -- the beetle-infested trees were gone, and the conservatory had some unique walls, not to mention a story to tell.

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