A little bit of dirt didn’t deter Clinton third graders from getting hands-on experience with planting trees this week.
Thanks to Clinton Trees Forever, more than 300 children in the Clinton School District and Prince of Peace Catholic School, planted a Fraser fir seedling measuring 10 to 20 inches tall. Students brought their trees home after the presentation.
Clinton Trees Forever member John Mulholland looks forward to this project every year.
“Each one of the kids gets so excited,” Mulholland said. “It’s good for the teachers in the classroom and it provides knowledge.”
The program started in 1993 when Clinton Trees Forever provided 500 white pine trees to third grade students and 500 Concolor fir trees to area girl and boy scouts.
Since then, the organization has shifted its focus to only third graders. Members provided 400 trees to students this year.
“This is just the right age,” Mulholland said. “The kids are just getting settled into the world. Third graders seem to absorb it better and they take pride in them.”
Students worked in teams while planting the trees, helping each other to plant the tree within the dirt. They also received a book “The Forest Where Ashley Lives,” written by Mark Vitosh, Iowa State University Extension forester, and heard a presentation given by retired classroom teachers about planting trees.
Liz Clements, who is in her fourth year helping with the project, enjoys teaching the next generation about helping the environment.
“These kids can replace the trees that we cut out,” said Clements, who is a retired math teacher from the Northeast School District. “I appreciate the younger generation. I didn’t have any children, so I treat these children like my own.”
Ashford University students assisted with the program, and Clinton Trees Forever purchased the seedlings and books using a grant from Alliant Energy’s Branching Out Planting Partnership.