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CWC to restore orchard in Sinks

Jul 31, 2016 From staff reports

Central Wyoming College has received a grant to restore the historic apple orchard at the Sinks Canyon Center above Lander.

The $24,500 grant is through the Wyoming Department of Agriculture's U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops program.

According to a memo to the CWC Board of Trustees, the project will allow for the planting of new apple and other fruit trees, pruning and spraying existing heritage apple trees, improving the irrigation system, constructing a deer-proof fence around the perimeter of the orchard and adding educational signage about the project. In addition, there will be community workshops on orchard restoration, tree grafting and tree planting.

The project also provides internship opportunities for interested CWC students and volunteer opportunities or community members.

The project involves a partnership with University of Wyoming botanist Steve Miller, who has experience in grafting heritage apple trees, the history of apple production in Wyoming, and historic orchard restoration. He already has propagated nearly 50 trees using existing heritage plants in Sinks Canyon; the trees will be replanted at the orchard during the duration of the project.

Miller has conducted workshops throughout the state and says there is "intense interest" from apple producers for propagating trees from the SCC heritage trees, which have proven their survivability in Wyoming's challenging climatic conditions.

The project also will provide useful information for owners of old and deteriorating orchards in the region who are interested in restoring the health and vigor of their trees.

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