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October 8, 2012

Swimming & Diving Helps Plant Trees at Schultz Fire Burn Area

PHOTO GALLERY BY CURT KNIGHT

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Twenty-four members of the Northern Arizona women's swimming & diving team along with head coach Andy Johns planted approximately 650 trees on Saturday at the White Vulcan mine just north of the Schultz Fire burn area. The NAU student-athletes spent three and a half hours digging and planting trees on half-acre plots and helping the Flagstaff Ranger District repopulate a portion of the Coconino National Forest.

"It was cool to see that we we're helping (the rangers)," said NAU senior swimmer Danielle Palbykin. "Seeing how long it took us to dig 50 holes and to imagine them having to do that themselves, it was cool to help them out like that. Working together to get the plots done and helping out the others was good team building for us as well."

The 24 swimmers were paired up as well as Coach Johns with another volunteer, as the squad formed 13 pairs that planted 50 trees apiece in each half-acre plot. Several other groups also volunteered alongside the NAU student-athletes as the total number of trees planted totaled upwards of 800. The labor was intensive as the volunteers had to break through rock in what used to be a mine, providing them with significant exercise while working for a good cause.

Following Saturday's event the NAU swimming & diving team has already completed nearly 300 volunteer hours less than two months into the 2012-13 academic year.