RAPID CITY, S.D. — This Earth Day, Black Hills Energy is planning to give away more than 1,000 free trees. Customers can claim a tree through BHE’s partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Initiative beginning on Thursday, April 22.
Trees clean air and water, improve physical and mental health, and beautify the world. They also help save energy, as a strategically-placed tree can save a homeowner up to 20% on energy costs.
A free tree can be reserved on a first come, first served basis here. The three-to-four foot tall dormant trees will be delivered directly to customers for spring planting from May through early June, and are small enough that they can be planted by one person.
“Strategically planted trees block the hot summer sun and cold winter winds to help cut energy usage without sacrificing comfort,” said Marc Eyre, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of operations for South Dakota.
Since the program began in 2014, nearly 8,000 trees have been planted through the partnership. In addition to energy savings, trees improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, reduce the urban heat island effect, and beautify the area around them.
BHE also wants to remind customers that at least two business days before you plan to dig – whether you are a homeowner planting a tree or a contractor excavating with a backhoe – call before you dig to have underground utility lines marked. It’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law.
In South Dakota, just make a free call by dialing 811 to reach South Dakota 811. You also can schedule online here.
Black Hills Energy also urges customers to follow the safe digging practices listed here, which include using white spray-paint to mark the area where you plan to dig before line locaters arrive.
“Underground utility lines may be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind,” Eyre said. “It only takes a minute to Call Before You Dig, and it can save untold time and trouble. Please follow the rules and dig safely. We want you and your family to enjoy your new tree for a long, long time.”