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Friendship Forest Plants Connections on Campus   

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Art department brings in local artist for tree planting experience. 

Tirzah Wiebolt, Staff Writer 

Sean Matson, Staff Photographer 

On Oct.13, a collection of students and faculty members gathered to plant trees along the bank of the campus. The project was supported by the art department. Amanda Lovelee, a local artist from the Twin Cities area, had created a similar experience in St. Paul.  With the help of Rachel Breen and Chad Giblin, Lovelee brought the Friendship Forest experience here to campus.    

“The purpose of art is to create an experience” Breen, an art professor campus, explains. “Art is something that takes place,” Breen comments. “Planting a tree is an investment in the future, it symbolizes longevity, a commitment to each other and to the planet”. Last year Breen brought in several local artists to campus to have students experience their work, one of whom was Lovelee. Lovelee is a visual artist with a desire to create community and beautiful spaces in contemporary society.  

Around 100 people attended the planting. The event was commemorated with performances by The World Drumming Ensemble, led by Nickolai Zielinski, and a student reading of a tree poem organized by theatre faculty member Blayn Lemke. A drone filmed the proceedings from the air. Students gave their trees names such as Ramsey X11, Herculeaves, and Daisy Lily Rose, and many students took selfies with them.  

“Many students loved the project, some had never planted trees before and found that doing it with others was very celebratory,” Breen concludes.   

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