Board Member Bio – Eric Hammer

Eric Hammer has been a Rooted in Cheyenne board member since the beginning of the program. Unlike other board members, Eric doesn’t have a professional background in arboriculture or horticulture, but as a city planner, understands the benefits street trees provide and their pivotal role in placemaking, public health, and sustainability.

Eric received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, Political Science, Marketing, and Urban Studies from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. During his undergraduate studies, he volunteered with Re-Tree WNY, which was mobilized in response to a devastating ice storm that killed an estimated thirty thousand trees in the Western New York area. This experience was eye-opening, as streets that were formerly covered by a dense urban canopy became barren virtually overnight. After later graduating from the University at Buffalo with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree, Eric moved to Cheyenne, but noticed the same pattern; trees were consistently being removed, but not replaced.  He joined the Rooted in Cheyenne Board to help reverse this pattern and increase tree planting throughout the city.

The oldest tree in Buffalo, where Eric grew up, is this Sycamore and actually predates the settlement of the area. Eric always though it was amazing that the city grew up around the tree and that it thrived, even through the more polluted and industrial period of the city’s history. Just look at that amazing trunk!
 His favorite tree is the American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), which can grow to massive proportions, even in urban environments. While Sycamore’s native range only extends into NE Nebraska, it is currently being planting throughout the front range of Colorado, and may be able to thrive in Cheyenne with appropriate irrigation. In its native range, this species, is one of the tallest of the native eastern North American deciduous trees, growing up to 100 feet tall.  It’s hybrid cousin, London Planetree (Platanus xacerfolia) is planted in urban areas throughout the world.