An Arbor Day activity in a science classroom has given students an appreciation for the future benefits of tree planting. It has also given them an appreciation for the cooperation of a local business. With support from the Hramor Tree Nursery and their locally grown seedlings, Manistee Middle School 6th graders took a step toward having students get back to nature by preparing and planting eastern white pine seedlings in Manistee County. Students experienced a truly “green” work out planting a total of 150 trees this year.
Students learned that the tree shade they enjoy today is one benefit from something that happened a long time ago. To provide similar future benefits for future generations, they were encouraged to take to heart the Chinese proverb “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
The white pine was chosen for this project for a variety of reasons. It’s Michigan’s state tree, it grows extremely well in Manistee County, and it is responsible for much of Manistee’s history, dating back to the logging heyday in the 1800’s.
As part of the planting, students also learn about trees and their beneficial roles.
- Trees improve air quality – sometimes called the lungs of the earth as they absorb carbon dioxide, and release oxygen
- Trees improve water quality, reduce flooding and erosion. They slow evaporation and tree roots stabilize stream banks.
- Trees help conserve energy at schools and for homes – trees provide shade in the summer reducing air conditioning costs and assist as windbreaks in the winter reducing heating costs.
- Trees improve health – trees provide a calm and relaxing environment that help improve a person’s overall sense of well-being.
- Trees enhance a sense of pride in a community. Tree planting projects are a visible sign of a community commitment to improving their green space.
Students learned how this was an opportunity to give back to their community and school. Not just for today but for future students who will be reaping the benefits from the trees that were planted today – even 40 – 50 years from now, and beyond!
“We have been doing this activity for 12 years now! That translates to over 2,000 white pine seedlings that came to us through the generosity of Tom and Mike Morin of Hramor Nursery,” said Matt Phillips, 6th grade science teacher at Manistee Middle School. “It’s really nice when local businesses step forward and support our students and their schools. Thank you, Hramor Nursery!”