by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Rain delayed but didn’t diminish the enthusiasm for trees by Carver County Parks staff and Central Elementary second-graders.
Students and staff worked together to learn about and plant 10 trees at Baylor Park in NYA on Thursday, May 29, in a delayed Arbor Day effort.
Originally scheduled for May 20, the tree planting was delayed because of rain.
National Arbor Day is a holiday where individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees and on the first Arbor Day on April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.
At Baylor Park, Carver County Parks Director Marty Walsh spoke with students from Kathy Dvorak’s class about the importance of trees and potential benefits.
Well-versed in the benefits because of their recent studies on plants, second-graders readily opened up with Walsh about benefits such as oxygen creation, water purification, shade and energy savings, habitats for birds, fruits and nuts, and firewood.
Dvorak said students have been studying plants.
“First we planted bean seeds in the window,” she said, adding students experimented with light sources, water and growing requirements. “Then we planted sunflower seeds in egg cartons and they can take those home. Tomorrow (Friday) we’re going to be tearing apart a flower and learning all those parts. Kids love the hands-on activities and this fits well.”
Walsh then guided a small group of students in planting one of the 10 trees, a fast-growing hybrid maple, in front of the main building near the Baylor Park entrance before they divided into small groups to assist in planting of other trees around the campground.
“What do you think this tree is telling us right now?” Walsh asked the class. “It’s in a hole, it’s roots are exposed and it’s leaves are starting to droop. It’s telling us we better hurry up and plant me and get me water.”
Explaining the process, Walsh emphasized the importance of creating just the right sized hole for trees to prevent root damage, the removal of a burlap sack for root growth and moisture capturing and the necessity to “plant the tree proud” and upright so roots will grow down and the proper placement of wood chips.
“Once you plant the roots deep then that’s harder for the tree to survive,” he said. “You want the tree roots to be up or at the ground level of the area.”
Parks and Trails Supervisor Sam Pertz added that the campground was a perfect place for the trees.
“We wanted to get some trees in the campground because it’s really busy this time of year with our campers,” he said. “Last year with storms we lost some of our trees and we want to replace them.”
In addition to Pertz and Walsh, Carver County Commissioner James Ische, Dvorak, Parks Programmer Andrew Lesch, Parks Account Clerk Connie Keller, as well as maintenance workers Mark Kohls and Paul Roepke all took park in the planting.
Kohls, who done some of the prep work with Roepke to dig holes, told students he enjoys and is grateful for their assistance.
He also shared that the variety of trees including maples, lindens and hickorys were planted will ensure trees are in the park.
“We plant a variety just in case if emerald ash borer or something else comes,” he said. “That way at least we will have something standing.”
For more information on Arbor Day, visit www.arborday.org, and for more information on Baylor Park, visit www.co.carver.mn.us.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.