On March 31 at 2:30 p.m., a ceremonial planting will be held at the site of a new memorial tree in honor of the 10 community members who lost their lives in the King Soopers shooting last year.
A committee was formed last summer from CU Boulder’s chapter of Tree Campus USA (TCUSA) to identify a way to memorialize the victims. The committee chose to plant a catalpa, which is a large shade tree that offers heart-shaped leaves, beautiful spring flowers and unique, persistent fruit.
The tree was installed in the fall during more optimal planting conditions at the northeast corner of Farrand Field, near where the Golden Buffalo Marching Band practices. The marching band was particularly impactful to Teri Leiker, a King Soopers employee who died in the March 22 shooting.
The committee noted that catalpas represent spirituality and creativity, and their heart-shaped leaves are particularly fitting for a memorial tree. Catalpa wood is also used in instrument-making and the tree symbolically aligns with the spirit realm.
During the ceremonial planting, attendees will be welcomed to speak, or just appreciate the dedication in silence. Vince Aquino, arboriculture manager, and his team will remove some of the backfill from the ground to allow individuals to help plant the tree, at which point they will also be invited to throw tokens or mementos into the soil.
In addition to the tree dedication, plans for commemorating the shooting victims include a Day of Remembrance gathering at the Glen Huntington Bandshell, a Line of Duty Death commemoration, a patrol car parked in front of the Boulder Police Department for individuals to leave their condolences and a moment of silence at 2:30 p.m, all of which will occur on March 22.
As we approach this solemn anniversary, university community members are encouraged to take space as needed to reflect, remember and connect with others. CU Boulder offers many confidential support centers and resources. Here is a complete list of campus support services for students, faculty and staff.