Fourth grade foresters take on challenge to plant trees
Parents of fourth grade students throughout Carbon County should not be too concerned if their child has a green thumb. That's what some local groups are hoping is the case.
The Carbon County Green Team and the Price River Watershed Conservation District teamed up to help give back to the community in a "Pay it forward" project. The two entities have become involved with the Fourth Grade Foresters USA program.
The "Pay it Forward" part of the project is a way for people to give back to the community one at a time. In this case the Green Team and the Conservation District are giving back to the students of the community by presenting them with trees to plant at home and around the county. The students, by planting the trees, will be giving back to the community by providing future generations trees with which they can help maintain.
"The trees planted in the ground today can not only benefit students now but by the time these students are in high school, the trees will hopefully be bigger," said Jeanne McEvoy, a member of the Green Team.
The goals of the Fourth Grade Foresters USA include to revitalize observation of Arbor Day in America's schools on the official Arbor Day proclaimed in their own state, to send every fourth grader home with a tree of their own to plant and care for, to support employment of workers with disabilities and to bring schools, private individuals, businesses and conservation districts together to have a direct positive impact on the urban forests of their communities.
The Fourth Grade Foresters USA was first started in 2006 and since then more than 218,000 trees have been given to fourth graders all over the country.
To help pay for the trees given out to students, money donated by patrons to the Carbon County Green Team at the Due West concert last month was combined with other funding from the Price River Watershed Conservation District to help put a tree in the hands of every fourth grade student in Carbon County.
Last week, McEvoy and Jeana Wells with the Price River Watershed Conservation District, stopped by Sally Mauro and Wellington Elementary schools to present the students with their own trees. The students were taught everything they needed to know for planting a tree and maintaining it over time. As they walked out of the presentation, each student was given a Austrian Pine or a Ponderosa Pine tree in a plastic bag, ready to be planted in the ground.
Wells asked the students at Wellington Elementary if they have ever planted anything before. Every hand in the room shot up in the air with exuberance.
"Well we've certainly got a lot of experts here in this room," Wells said.
If students plant the trees they were presented with, Wells said they would receive a certificate declaring them as a life-long member of the Fourth Grade Foresters of Utah.
Getting the students excited about a program like this is a fun way to give back to the community, McEvoy and Wells said.
"Helping to educate the students and opening their minds to conservation is important," McEvoy said.
"It's nice to see the students take the trees and plant them in the community," Wells said. "The littlest things they can do really can make a difference in our community."