Students Serving in the Community - 2012 Salt and Light!

  • Apr 24, 2012

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On Saturday April 14, 2012, the Vernon Grounds Institute of Public Ethics held its annual Salt and Light day of service. 44 Denver Seminary students and staff participated in environmental care activities that were organized by three participating agencies: Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Expedition Ministries and Feeding Many, the latter two which are ministries connected with the WaterStone Community Church. Those from the Seminary community included students, staff, and friends and family of students and staff. It was our highest turnout since beginning the Salt and Light event!

The event highlighted what was the theme of the year for the Grounds Institute - Creation Care. For more information on the Grounds Institute and it's yearly themes, visit

Feeding Many Agency

Feeding Many Agency guided students in preparing garden beds for planting crops at a community orchard located on the Water Stone Community Church Campus.  One strawberry bed 50 foot wide by 100 foot long was de-weeded, and a 50-foot wide by 100-foot long melon bed was de-weeded. Large areas in the peach section of the orchard waterlines were covered up. One of the students worked with the tractor to get all the weeds from the orchard to the dumpster. The students enjoyed fellowshiping with each other, and the work they completed made the day successful.

Below is a slideshow of pictures from the Feeding Many Agency event.

Hayman Fire

The Coalition for the Upper South Platte hosted work on an area destroyed by the 2002 Hayman Fire. The purpose of the day was to address the serious environmental concern the burned area poses for Colorado. Participants transplanted 100 Ponderosa pine trees on approximately one acre of land deforested by the Hayman Fire. At over 137,000 acres, this fire was the largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history. This site burned so intensely that all vegetation was gone.

The soil was deemed hydrophobic, or lacking the ability to absorb water. This unnatural and catastrophic fire created downstream flooding issues and unprecedented erosion problems, resulting in severe sedimentation of Colorado’s primary water supply. After a background and safety discussion, the group dug the saplings, swaddled the root balls in burlap, transported trees to burned slopes and planted them in patterns consistent with a natural forest. The transplanted trees had been nursed for several years prior to promote hardiness to survive. 

The benefits of this project were numerous: saplings provide shade, filter carbon dioxide, and in time, will grow and throw their seed as nature intended.  The primary function of replanting pine is to stabilize soil and reduce erosion in streams supplying the Upper South Platte River and hence, the reservoirs supplying the Denver area.  The Upper South Platte River Watershed supplies drinking and agricultural water for more than 75% of all Colorado residents.  The impact from the Hayman Fire has cost millions of dollars to remedy.  This project also helped instill stewardship in those who attended and the need to care for the Earth properly.

Below is a slidehow of pictures from the work done on the Hayman Fire.

Waterstone Community Church Expedition Ministries

Waterstone Community Church led a rock-climbing expedition that taught students how to "leave no trace" behind them as they climbed.  A slideshow of a few pictures is below.

A BIG thank you to all who participated in the event!