Loose-leaf: new meaning to outdoor classroom

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As spring canopies unfold on trees, many homeowners start planning yard improvements.

Trees and shrubs can help make homes more energy efficient, improve water and air quality, and increase property values. However, proper planting and maintenance are key to each of these benefits.

Before heading to the garden center, do a little homework.

OPPD has created the perfect outdoor classroom for this work. OPPD’s arboretum, located at 108th and Blondo streets in Omaha, contains more than 1,000 trees and shrubs or more than 200 different species, each marked with their name, species, height and spread at full maturity.

Visitors can learn where to plant the items and how landscaping is an important part of energy conservations. They also see how trees and shrubs look when fully grown.

Two miles of walking trails take visitors throughout the OPPD arboretum. See the photo gallery below for sights you might see there.

The 26-acre arboretum includes two miles of walking trails. Other arboretum areas of interest include:

Electrical safety education area. Provides a demonstration of the trimming methods used by OPPD’s Forestry Department when pruning trees away from power lines. Includes examples of tree/shrub species that can be planted adjacent to power lines.

Signage educates visitors, shown here, at the substation overlook.

Substation overlook. Explains the parts of the substation and how each part functions.

Transmission line demonstration. Offers a walk through a transmission right-of-way to see the vegetation-management practices OPPD uses to eliminate unwanted vegetation and promote the growth of desirable plants that attract wildlife.

Shelterbelt, wildlife and erosion-control plantings. Contains tree and shrub plantings designed to attract wildlife and provide examples of soil and wind conservation measures through erosion control and windbreaks.

Students and teachers alike love this outdoor classroom.

Formal planting area. Emphasizes planting the right tree in the right place to avoid future tree/power line hazards. Visitors can see the types of trees that can be planted adjacent to power lines.

Outdoor classroom. Provides a classroom within a forested area surrounded by native tree species and connected to a hard-surface trail system.

Paula Lukowski

About Paula Lukowski

Paula Lukowski, The Wire managing editor, has more than 34 years of experience in corporate communications, 28 of them at OPPD.

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