Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Two new miyabei maple trees now grace a stretch of Lorraine Street near the Mitchell/Scarlett campus thanks in part to 11 Scarlett Middle School seventh graders.
The city of Ann Arbor’s Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee celebrated Earth Day today and Arbor Day next week with a tree planting with the students Friday morning.
Committee Chair Ben Muth spent a few minutes in the auditorium talking with the students about the importance of trees and how they purify the air and prevent soil erosion while adding beauty to the environment.
He then accompanied them to the site where city employees were on hand to direct the digging, planting, mulching and watering.
“It’s important to get kids involved because kids sometimes take for granted the fact that trees are here,” Muth said. “And it’s a great exercise to show kids that the city of Ann Arbor is invested in planting trees … Every day now when they drive in to Scarlett, they’ll be able to see the exact two trees they planted.”
Teacher Nathan Dejonge said he and his seventh graders have been talking a lot about not just academics, but building character.
“This group of kids has been handling their business in the classroom, and we wanted to expand that to outside the classroom and do something for the community,” he said.
Jimmy Trussell, 13, thought the whole thing was “pretty cool.”
“I’ve never planted a tree before,” he said. “The trees we’re planting uses math, too, because we have to find out how deep it is by using math skills.”
Jordan Cline, 12, had been looking forward to Earth Day, and helping with the project.
“I think it’s great because it’s going to make people happy seeing we have two new trees,” he said.
The Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee is responsible for reviewing public tree planting and maintenance projects and making recommendations to Ann Arbor City Council on the allocation of funds from the Elizabeth R. Dean Trust.
The trees will eventually reach 40 feet feet.