Skyview Elementary celebrates Arbor Day with assembly and tree planting ceremony | MyWindsorNow.com

Skyview Elementary celebrates Arbor Day with assembly and tree planting ceremony

Kendall Krautsack
kkrautsack@greeleytribune.com

Members of Skyview Elementary's Roots and Shoots program braved the cold Friday to plant three trees in the school's outdoor classroom in anticipation of Arbor Day.

The after-school program teaches students about environmental learning and is popular at Skyview, with 80 students from first through fifth grades participating.

Students in the program planted three trees with the help of teachers, the town of Windsor, the town's parks and recreation department and members of Colorado State University's forestry program.

The kids took turns shoveling dirt onto trees' roots and then headed inside for an all-school assembly to celebrate Arbor Day.

Alison O'Connor, chair of the Windsor Tree Board, spoke to students about the history of Arbor Day and why trees are important for the community.

"Trees make our community pretty and trees help give us a sense of place," O'Connor said. "We want to make sure there are enough trees so everyone can enjoy them."

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Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez then read the Arbor Day Proclamation as students helped her by filling in the word "whereas" when she called on them.

Melendez was then presented with a Tree City USA award, an award the town has received for 36 straight years.

Towns qualify for the award by meeting four standards: have a tree board, tree ordinances, a budget — each Windsor resident pays $2 to fund trees — and an Arbor Day celebration.

Students celebrated indeed when they were given tree seedlings to plant.

Board member Ivan Adams then asked students to raise their right hands and recite a pledge, which initiated all students as junior Tree Board members.

"In 20 years, you might come back and see how the trees have grown," Adams said. "Remember to take care of them, protect them and be proud of them."

Several students performed the song "Standing like a Tree," which includes wood instruments, part of the outdoor classroom.

And just when students thought it was time to go, Smokey the Bear made a surprise appearance. Students slapped Smokey's hand as they headed back to their classrooms as junior Tree Board members.

Arbor Day History

In 1875, Michigan native J. Sterling Morton relocated to Nebraska and noticed the landscape lacked trees. As a journalist, Morton spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to readers. Morton highlighted that trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the sun. Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called “Arbor Day” at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting the largest number of trees on that day. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. Today the most common date for the state observance is the last Friday in April but a number of state Arbor Days are at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the south to May in the north.