NEBRASKA CITY – 2018 Arbor Day Honoree Jack Haupt and Tree Planter of the Year Steven Stukenholtz put the finishing touches on the newly planted linden greenspire trees that produce a fragrant spring flower and provide shade from as high as 70 feet.
Haupt has planted about 4,000 trees since 1960 on his land near Union.
Haupt: “Dad, he encouraged me. He said I was crazier than hell. He didn’t think I’d live long enough to see them all.”
He thanked his family for attending and invoked chuckles by revealing he still has his first car, first tractor and first wife.
He told a story about settlers who traveled from Nebraska City to Weeping Water before they found a grove of cottonwood trees to try and make a homestead. He said the landscape and the way trees are cared for has changed.
Haupt: “They was telling about when they planted their hedge row around the quarter section, they hauled water to it in horse and wagon.”
Tree Planter Steven Stukenholtz is steward of land his great-grandfather bought in 1903.
Stukenholtz: “I got to thinking about the heritage and stuff and the generations that might come after. So I started planting trees and thought, well I’ll plant them for the grandkids. First I started planting the maple trees, the sugar maples and stuff because I love the foliage in the fall.
“Then I got more into the trees that will be around for a long time, the bur oaks and the white oaks that might live to be tree, four or 500 years old, if they are not disturbed.”
How he has an interest in flowering trees, like crab apples and dogwoods.
The 84-year-old Haupt said its humbling to be associated with J. Sterling Morton and offered his hope for Arbor Day’s to come.
Haupt: “I do believe in trees. I hope my neighbors decide to start planting a few more.”