Today is Arbor Day, a day to celebrate trees and all the benefits they bring us and our world. I have always loved trees, and it was my love for trees and kids and schools that got me deeply involved with community service in Vermont.
In 2009, I planted 16 trees with the 3rd graders at Mary Hogan School in Middlebury. The students researched the science of trees, wrote tree poems and stories, and helped choose the tree varieties we’d plant around the school. They also recruited their friends and family members to help plant the trees. Their efforts won them the Vermont Tree Steward Award and a trip to an awards ceremony at the Statehouse in Montpelier to meet the governor and the other award recipients.
Since 2009, I’ve collaborated with students and teachers at five different schools to plant trees each spring or fall. I think students, ranging in age from 3 to 18, have planted over 60 trees at their schools since we got started. I wrote about these Schools of Trees projects a few years ago. It’s been a good journey.
That day in 2009 remains one of my favorite days ever, digging in the dirt with kids and friends, planting hope for our students and schools, and planet too. Our cherished natural beauty and resoures are so important to Vermont – our tradition of maple syrup production, forestry, wood carving, leaf peeping, and simply enjoying a walk in the woods – make many of us who we are as Vermonters.
Trees are so important to me that I designed my campaign logo around a tree. The roots of my community service in Vermont started with trees and schools. I hope to weave this love of trees and students into my campaign and my service in the Vermont Senate.
If you’d like to help the Mary Hogan School 6th graders plant a tree for this Arbor Day, you can join us on Monday at 10:30 at the school. Until then, Happy Arbor Day!