Benicia’s Joe Henderson, Matthew Turner and Mary Farmar elementary schools held Fall Arbor Day tree planting events last week with the assistance of the Benicia Tree Foundation, to promote the importance of trees in our community and the need to plant the right tree in the right place.
On December 1st at Joe Henderson, families from Ms. Schlosser’s kindergarten class planted eight Coast live oak trees donated by the California Native Plant Society along the campus trail. “In a world of things we cannot control, giving back to our community is a great way to show our students these are the things we can control,” said Schlosser.
Henderson Principal Melanie Buck also attended this one-hour event under steady rain. “After it was all over, it looked like some of the students had mud equivalent to their own weight stuck to their shoes” said Buck.
Later that same day under clearer skies, a tree planting occurred at Matthew Turner Elementary School. Families from the school were joined by Benicia High School students and Mayor Elizabeth Patterson to plant 13 trees at the school entrance.
“These kind of events show our students how community service can benefit their city while they learn a skill like planting trees and share this experience with friends and neighbors” said Patterson.
Matthew Turner Principal Stephen Slater said he was honored by the turnout of volunteers who came to help improve the school campus. “Some of these trees replace trees that were removed for construction of our solar panel project at the school’s entrance last year”.
Mary Farmar Elementary School had their Fall Arbor Day event on Wednesday during the school day,when students planted 33 trees on the playfield and along the driveway entrance.
Mary Farmar Principal Mellissa Harley said she wanted the event to involve as many students as possible. “I hope they remember this day if they pass by this campus long after they graduate and see the lasting impact of these trees”.
Harley also thanked the school district’s Supervisor for Maintenance and Operations, Alfredo Romero and his staff. “Rony Estrada was very pivotal in getting all the holes dug.”
The tree planting ceremony at Mary Farmar included comments from Stephen Hallett who represented Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown’s office. He described the benefits of trees to the students who were assembled on the school playground. “There is a lot that kids can learn about how trees help our environment” said Hallett.
Steven Goetz, a volunteer with the Benicia Tree Foundation, commented that during the planning at the Mary Farmar campus, he learned that a number of large trees have been killed by vandals drilling holes into their base and poisoning them. “We selected trees that would not grow tall and placed them at locations that hopefully will not attract vandals as they grow” said Goetz. “We also callled 811 to make sure the tree locations did not conflict with utilities.”
“None of this would have been possible without a grant that the Benicia Tree Foundation received from California Releaf, the US Forest Service, and Pacific Gas & Electric” Goetz explained. “These grants have helped with tree planting projects at other campuses in the past, like at Semple Elementary in 2013. I hope we can hold a similar event at a Benicia campus next year.”