Virginia Tech students plant big at the Big Plant

Virginia Tech students plant big at the Big Plant

Hundreds of Virginia Tech (VT) students, as well as community members, took part in the Big Plant last weekend, a community event hosted by New River Conservancy (NRC) and the Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech where thousands of trees are planted on Virginia Tech’s campus and surrounding Blacksburg area to initiate ecological restoration. The Big Plant took place over Saturday and Sunday, with volunteers ready to dig and plant tree seedlings on the riparian habitat along Stroubles Creek extending nearly a mile downstream on both banks.  Several other reforestation projects occurred the same day around VT’s central campus.

The Big Plant strives to enable positive environmental change for individuals who may think they have no power over their macro-environment. The original cause for the Big Plant was to combat climate change, and while that is still a primary focus, trees can serve as an ecological answer for more than one environmental issue. NRV Executive Director says “It is our environment that reaps the rewards of so much hard work that goes into this incredible event. NRC is excited to again be part of the restoration work.”

The final count for the Big Plant 2024 is 14,200 native trees and shrubs across 35 species planted on VT property in the Stroubles Creek watershed. This amount of planting took around 500 volunteers, mostly Virginia Tech students,  planting over two days.

Founder Tom Saxton says “The impacts that events like this have on students/participants go far beyond anything we can imagine as they take that experience with them around the globe. One of the most inspiring parts of these events is how folks of all ages and backgrounds set aside their differences and work together for a common cause and have a blast doing it. No politics, just working on healing the one thing we all have in common – our planet. We could use a little more of that in this world these days.” 

The Big Plant is funded primarily by New River Conservancy and is a joint partnership between NRC, Virginia Tech, and the Environmental Coalition at VT.  NRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  For more information please contact Lisa Stansell-Galitz at

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