As scientists, kindergartners in the Colonial School District study trees. They learn the parts, how photosynthesis works and the value of "observation" by watching how trees change during the different seasons. As a final project in the year-long unit, the kindergarten students at all four K-3 elementary schools plant a tree for Arbor Day on their school grounds.
"They absolutely love it. We've been looking at trees all year and noticing the different stages of the trees that have been planted in the past," said Peggy Smith, kindergarten teacher at Ridge Park Elementary School. "For them to have their own tree outside is exciting, because they feel like they're contributing to our school and that the tree is part of their legacy."
Colonial School District Turf Supervisor Gene Kelly and Science Curriculum Supervisor Maria Wileczek visited each of the K-3 elementary schools to share the history of Arbor Day and the benefits of planting trees. This year, they planted a Cleveland Select Pear Tree at Plymouth, Whitemarsh and Conshohocken elementary schools and a Crabapple Tree at Ridge Park. At Whitemarsh Elementary School, they were joined by Tom Blomstrom and Joanne Crawford from Whitemarsh Township Parks and Recreation.
"We started the Arbor Day program in 2008, and the event has definitely contributed to the beautification of the campus since then," said Mr. Kelly. "While it's great to see the growth of the trees over the years, the best part is working with the students and seeing how much the children know about trees and how they benefit the environment."The first American Arbor Day was inspired by J. Sterling Morton, a newspaper man who moved from Detroit to the prairie in Nebraska and encouraged Nebraskans to plant more than one million trees on April 10, 1872. Today, Arbor Day takes place the last Friday of April.