Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2003

VES students plant 1,000 trees as part of environmental study

April 16, 2003

Elementary School students planted a tree last week. But they didn't stop with just one tree. By the time they were done planting, 1,000 young trees were sticking out of the ground.

For the second year in a row, the school, along with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spent Friday morning in Lawrence, near Clinton Lake, planting hickories and oaks in a triangle-shaped section of land along Clinton Parkway just south of Sport2Sport.

"It's just a good community service project," Loretta Verhaeghe, VES first grade teacher, said. "It's a way to give back to the community."

Verhaeghe said the tree planting was the school's kick off for a month-long focus on the environment.

"It ties into Earth Day and Arbor Day," she said. "We've got some real environmentalists out here. They realize the importance of it."

She said the tree-planting activity is a good educational project for the students.

"It's a great hands-on activity and they learn so much from it," she said. "The idea is they want to keep the earth a better place for when they're older."

Jim Franz, park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, agreed the tree planting was a good activity to help educate and involve the students.

"It gets them outdoors and will hopefully get them more attune with nature," Franz said. "It's a good way to provide a valuable, renewable resource and get the community involved."

VES first grader Colton Stark said he enjoyed planting trees, even though digging the holes proved to be a little harder than he first thought.

"It was really fun. I liked taking turns with people in my groups getting the trees and putting them in the holes," Stark said.

"There were some hard spots trying to get the dirt up so we could put the trees in, but it was pretty fun."

VES will continue its environmental projects every week through the rest of April, Verhaeghe said.

Before the school planted trees Friday, Susan Case's second grade class performed Dr. Suess' "The Lorax," an ecological story warning of the dangers pollution and clear-cutting, for students.

Today, students will take recyclables they've been collecting this week to the Wal-Mart recycling center.

"They'll actually see how things can be reused," Verhaeghe said.

The students will also take a trip to the Baker Wetlands later this month.

"They'll see how nature's at its best without pollution and litter and all of that," she said.

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