Arbor Day activities teach kids about our need for trees. There’s a reason many people proudly refer to themselves as “tree huggers.” Trees are essential to a healthy environment, providing oxygen, shade, erosion protection, and a comfy home for many animals—not to mention the ones that offer tasty fruits and nuts for us to eat.
Protecting and proliferating these leafy friends is the idea behind Arbor Day, celebrated in the United States since 1872. It’s traditionally celebrated on the last Friday of each April, with tree-planting events across the nation. This year, it falls on April 27.
Arbor Day is the inspiration for the Project Plant It! program, sponsored by Dominion Energy since 2007. It’s a free environmental education program created to teach children about trees and their important role in our environment. Each registered participant receives an Eastern redbud tree seedling to plant. More than a half-million of these have been distributed since the program began!
We recently caught up with some Brownies and Girl Scouts of Troop 171 who were enjoying the Project Plant It! program. They had a great time learning why trees are such a treasure and how rewarding it can be to help them grow.
Like all participants in the program, each girl was given an Eastern redbud seedling to plant at their home or school. Native to Virginia, these trees provide breathtaking color in the springtime. Their leaves are a favorite snack for deer, and their flowers are a hit with hummingbirds and honeybees. Songbirds enjoy their seeds, and their sturdy branches for nesting and roosting. By learning about trees with this innovative program, kids get an engaging, hands-on lesson in environmental stewardship. They also enjoy the pride of seeing their hard work grow and flourish, year after year.
The Project Plant It! website has lots of great information for teachers, Scout leaders and others who are interested in teaching children about trees and their significance to the earth. It includes instructional videos, educational games and lots of outdoor activities. The lesson plans can be adapted easily for children of all ages and grade levels.
“It’s so important to teach children about environmental stewardship as well as how to protect and conserve natural resources such as our forests,” shares Suyapa Marquez, Project Plant It! Coordinator for Dominion Energy. “I’m proud that we are able to grow the next generation of gardeners and tree planters.”
Article by: Lia Tremblay
Video produced by: Max Schlickenmeyer