- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Volunteers dressing West Lafayette trees with fuzzy sweaters Tuesday night weren’t doing it to keep the saplings warm.

The sweaters were meant to protect the young trees, which often are targets of vandalism.

For the past three years, volunteers with West Lafayette Tree Friends have wrapped the city’s youngest sprouts with sweaters to remind passers-by that “people love these trees,” greenspace administrator Beverly Shaw said.

On Tuesday, volunteers went about “yarn bombing” about a dozen recently planted trees near Chauncey Village and Ross-Ade Stadium, attaching messages like “Don’t break my trunk when you get drunk.”

“We have had a problem in the past with some vandalism,” Shaw said. “It seems that people like to break trees on the way home from bars.”



Some don’t realize the benefits of trees - which cost about $200 to install - including their ability to capture stormwater and purify the air, said Lynn Layden, chairwoman of West Lafayette Tree Friends.

“They’re just plain pretty,” Layden said, “and a tree-lined street is always a lot cooler and a lot nicer during than the summer than just concrete everywhere.”

In the past few years, yarn bombing has grown in popularity as a form of public art. But Shaw said she doesn’t know of any other community using the art to deter vandalism. No trees with sweaters have been tampered with since the city started the project in 2012, she said.

“What we wanted to do was to come up with a way so people could tell that people love these trees, that people are working hard to gather donations and do projects to get them into the ground, that they matter to somebody,” Shaw said. “They’re not just things there on the street.”

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Source: The Journal & Courier, https://on.jconline.com/1jRyHFC .

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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