Students plant trees for Earth Day, Arbor Day

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By Danna Zabrovsky

"Oh what would we do, what would we do if there were no trees?"

The question comes from a children's song about tree preservation, something kindergarten students at Harmony Elementary know all about.

They had a special Arbor Day program to celebrate trees and the environment last week.

Arbor Day is a national celebration that encourages tree planting and care, and will take place April 29.

In Oldham County, the conservation district promotes Arbor Day by handing out trees to schools and the community.

Shauna Buchert with the conservation district said local schools received 2,400 trees this month. An additional 1,100 seedlings of several varieties, including Chestnut Oak, Bald Cypress, Pawpaw, Pin Oak and Eastern Redbud, went to community members at a seedling giveaway April 22.

The seedlings are grown at a nursery operated by the division of forestry, Buchert said.

"The Oldham County Conservation District, I can't give them enough credit for their efforts," said technology teacher Stephen Freyer, who also manages the science club at Harmony.

Freyer organized an Arbor Day program for kindergarten students, which included poetry, songs and information about the history of Arbor Day.

"The trees are our friends," Freyer told the 70 5- and 6-year-olds gathered on the stage in the school auditorium.

He showed students a white pine tree he acquired on Arbor Day four years ago, which was left over from the trees given to students. Pine trees are indigenous to the area and live about 15 years, Freyer said.

He could not decide where to place the tree in his home, so he keeps it at school.

"I brought it back, and it's been given back to the kids," he said.

Freyer plans to have the third-grade students plant the pine on school grounds, as it has outgrown its planter.

Teacher's aide Claudia Bruce said she read a book about pine trees to students after the program.

"They didn't realize their pencils were made from pine trees," she said, "and that paper comes from trees."

She said the Arbor Day program teaches young children about conservation, so they will grow to appreciate nature and the environment.

Aside from learning about trees and getting to see a growing pine tree, each student received a white pine sapling to plant at home.

Hadley Herndon, 6, wore a green t-shirt with the words, "Save the Earth. It's the only planet with candy." She loves trees and the environment, and was very excited about planting her own tree.

"I like celebrating the Earth," Herndon said. "My favorite kind of tree is the conifer tree because I have one at my house, and it's really special to me. I can climb on it and swing on it."

Herndon also understands why we need to plant new trees, and take care of the trees we have.

"They help us breathe, and if we couldn't breathe, we'd die. They're very important to the environment."

Paige Hoyer, 6, said she has a pine tree at home that she likes to climb.

"Trees help you breathe," Hoyer explained. "Trees help you also by giving shade. It can make you not feel so hot."

Freyer said all children love to climb trees and swing on branches.  It's something everyone can celebrate.

"Hug a tree, say no more," he said.

E-mail us about this story at: danna@oldhamera.com.