Vetter family awarded Burleigh County Tree Care Award

photo of Vetter family

By Wes Engbrecht

The Burleigh County Soil Conservation District has awarded its 2020 Tree Care Award to Capital Electric Cooperative (CEC) members, Aaron and Kristi Vetter. This award, sponsored by CEC, recognizes the Vetter family for their significant tree planting effort on their 40-acre property east of Menoken.

From the time they moved out of Bismarck to enjoy the rural surroundings near Menoken, the Vetter family knew they would need to plant some trees.

“We started out by planting 1,000 trees when we moved here in 2011, and those trees have done extremely well,” explains Aaron. “It was a very wet year, and we had perfect growing conditions which resulted in healthy trees.”

Aaron remembers, “Growing up near Linton, my dad always valued our trees and told me that someday I would do the same. I never appreciated those comments until our family moved to this property and saw the need fortrees. The wind protection and wildlife habitat qualities are very valuable to us.”

In 2020, the Vetters decided to add another 2,000 trees to surround their property, including a pond that is a favorite hangout for ducks and geese this time of year. Aaron and Kristi didn’t anticipate the need to water the trees so heavily, but they kept most of the trees going throughout the very dry summer. Kristi reflects, “It kept the kids busy the entire summer. Though we will have to replace some next year, they did a great job of keeping the trees alive.”

Aaron says the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District was extremely helpful during both plantings. “We can’t say enough about how much we appreciated their knowledge about the types of trees to plant based on our soil,” says Aaron. “You can see where the mature trees are a little shorter based on what they told us to expect due to the differences in soil quality. It was quite a remarkable process.”

After planting the trees this year, the family decided they would need to provide some fencing for protection from the deer that roam the area. Their five kids were in charge of stringing hundreds of yards of electric fence around the trees. The family also credits their dog, Champ, for keeping watch for tree-damaging animals.

In addition to watering and stringing fence, the kids were also responsible for a lot of hand weeding throughout the summer.

Living in the country works well for Aaron and Kristi. Along with their five children, Luke (18), Paul (16), David (14), Mary (8) and Joshua (6), the Vetters enjoy being only a short distance from their church and Menoken Public School, where the younger three children attend. The oldest two boys attend St. Mary’s High School in Bismarck.

CEC thanks the Vetter family for their efforts to beautify the prairie and provide shelter for wildlife in our service area. We appreciate the Vetters for their commitment to their cooperative and community!


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