Deciduous seedlings at OneCanopy
Seeds are planted in tubes about 6 inches long and an inch in diameter.

Imagine, if you can, 350,000 tubes, each six to eight inches tall and an inch in diameter. Each is filled with a special mixture of fertilized soil and popping from the top is a ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, a narrow-leaf cottonwood or some other tree suitable for planting in Colorado.

Each of those tubes was seeded with exactly three seeds — by hand. If all three seeds sprouted, two would be removed, again by hand, to leave room for the strongest. Or perhaps the other two seedlings would be replanted and nurtured into viable plantings.

The result of this hand labor is an expanse of seedling trees that in the next year or two will find new homes in the landscape of Colorado, replacing trees lost to beetles or fire or, perhaps, in a local homeowners association looking to have more visual greenery.

The demand for trees suitable for reforesting the region’s mountainsides, high plateaus and prairies is enormous, and a new social enterprise company, OneCanopy, is there to help fill it.

OneCanopy is the brainchild of Kevin Brinkman, whose day job is as CEO of Brinkman Real Estate Services LLC. With an interest in the environment and seeing the need in Colorado for reforestation, he launched Brinkman Conservation LLC, hired a staff and began to plant trees under the trade name OneCanopy. The operation runs from a former hemp greenhouse at 2880 14th St. SE in Loveland. A company Brinkman created called KMB 525 LLC bought the greenhouse property for $2.1 million.

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