Rockford elementary schools celebrate Arbor Day

Online Staff Report

To many children, trees are valued for shade on a hot day and may be a good branch to hang from. The last week in April, however, 5,900 students from 25 Rockford Public School District 205 elementary schools will learn to appreciate much more about trees during a weeklong “Arbor Day for Rockford Schools” celebration organized by Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden as part of its Community Trees Program.

Students at participating schools will learn about the trees in their community and how to protect them through engaging, educational activities all week long. They will also learn how trees grow and will help plant a tree on school grounds.

The weeklong activities culminate with a “Tree-mendous Arbor Day” celebration event at Haskell Elementary, 515 Maple St., Rockford. The event begins at 10 a.m., Friday, April 27, and includes several officials from the City of Rockford and Rockford Public Schools, including Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) and District 205 Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis.

It is easy to take trees for granted,” said John Richards, arborist and immediate past president of Klehm. “If we can instill a sense of stewardship in these kids at a young age, they’ll be able to help keep the trees in their communities valued and protected for generations to come.”

Dozens of knowledgeable volunteers from 21 non-profit organizations, public agencies and businesses throughout the city will help each school with learning activities and tree planting and care. Organizing partners include the City of Rockford, Commonwealth Edison, the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, Rockford Park District and Winnebago County.

Posted April 25, 2012

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