Engineers Without Borders Continues Partnership with Green Columbus

Michelle Brkljacic General

After unexpected COVID-19 guidelines in November 2020 threw a wrench in their plans, the Ohio State chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) was finally able to continue their tree nursery project in April 2021, partnering with Green Columbus.

The two tree nurseries are in Linden and the Hilltop, and the goal of the project is to provide trees for the communities free of cost. EWB and Green Columbus believe that trees bring many benefits to communities, such as shade, aesthetics, higher property values, and clean air.

landscape with dug out areas for tree seedlings

Seedling nursery in Hilltop, beginning shot.

landscape with tree seedling nursery

Seedling nursery in Hilltop, completed.


Katie Vatke, vice president of local projects for EWB, said each lot has expanded from 750 to 1,500 trees since the project began.

She said one of the biggest challenges was figuring out the layout within the lot and how to get the irrigation over to all of the nutrients.

irrigation piping components on concrete slab

Components of the irrigation system being constructed

“We were able to get the stakes put in the ground, dig the hole, make a line to expand the irrigation system to the new plot of tree nurseries, and put down the tarp for the plants to sit on. So that was really exciting.”

closeup of seedlings with irrigation lines

Irrigation lines watering trees in the nursery

The organization is currently working on finishing up their documentation for the project and making a guide for Green Columbus to give to schools in the area interested in making a tree nursery.

For students interested in getting involved, EWB is always welcoming new members and consistently has new projects they are working on.

“We have a bunch more local projects that we’re working on,” Vatke said. “Currently, we’re working on another garden project with the Global Water Institute and Local Matters, and one of the community gardens, helping them with their high tunnel and helping them with layout and drip irrigation.”

Engineers Without Borders is advised by Dr. Tom Darrah, GWI Director, and Amanda Davey, GWI Program Manager. Read more about their project with Green Columbus here.

Learn more about the Ohio State chapter of Engineers Without Borders and get information on joining if you are a student here.