Hundreds of tree seedlings up for grabs during annual San Juan College giveaway

Annual Arbor Day event will feature pecan, desert willow and oak trees

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A popular Arbor Day tradition makes its return Friday when the annual tree giveaway program at San Juan College takes place.

The college's grounds crew has grown more than 700 tree seedlings in several varieties, and all of them will be up for grabs during the event. The offerings include pecan, desert oak and several varieties of oak.

Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Aiessa Thomas said Thursday the event already was generating plenty of excitement on the college's social media pages.

"People are coming from all over to get trees," she said, noting that even some residents of Colorado had shared their plans to visit the campus for the giveaway.

This is the first year the annual giveaway has offered pecan trees, Thomas said. The seeds were harvested from a site in Aztec.

San Juan College will conduct its annual Arbor Day tree giveaway beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, April 29 on the college campus in Farmington.

"Pecans are unique," she said. "We have to give them out in pairs because of how they pollinate."

The seeds for the other plantings were collected last fall and winter, mostly from local sites, Thomas said, although some were harvested in Cortez, Colorado.

English oak seedlings will be among the varieties offered during the annual Arbor Day tree giveaway on Friday, April 29 at San Juan College.

Thomas said she and other members of her staff will be on hand to visit with people who drop by to pick up a tree and advise them on how and where to plant and care for them.

"That's the fun part of getting to do this with the community — you get to talk to them," she said.

Thomas said she expects most, if not all, of the trees to be claimed during the giveaway. If any of them remain at the end of the day, she said, they will donated to the City of Farmington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs department to be planted in the city's river parks.

"It's crazy to think we can go through 600 trees in a few hours," Thomas said. "That's how much people love it."

The annual Arbor Day tree giveaway at San Juan College includes hundreds of seedlings, including pecan, desert willow and several varieties of oak.

The giveaway will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, April 29, near the cultural center on the main college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.