Friday is Iowa Arbor Day, set aside for appreciation of trees in the state. Though it’s always been more rolling prairie than forest, the Hawkeye State has its share of trees, and Shenandoah second-grade teacher Marilyn Bayless was out this morning with her students adding to the number of trees.Some district and urban foresters came for the event, and the whole school, kindergarteners through fourth-graders, went outside and planted 45 trees this morning. Half were white pine, half Black Hills Spruce, in what will eventually be a windbreak behind the school building.This is the second year the new school’s been there and it’s surrounded by close to 100 acres of land, so the teacher says there’s plenty of room to put trees, flowers and “all kinds of outdoor activities.” It was a hands-on event for the kids. She says the students handled the final steps in the planting process. Most of the holes were dug ahead of time but each kid got to dig out a scoop, help unwrap burlap from the tree roots, pour water around the base of the tree, put in a scoop of dirt and help stamp it down and put mulch around the plantings. Bayless says being involved in the planting is an important connection between the kids and their school. The first year of class in the new school, kids helped with the landscaping that included planting 46 trees, and each was given a name by its own class — this year parents who came to the planting event told teachers how their kids made them come visit “their” trees and how they remember its name.
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