Scarlett students mark Earth Day and Arbor Day by planting maples



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.

Ben Muth, far right, helps students plant the maple tree as their teacher, Nathan Dejonge, looks on.

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.”

Steve Goebel, Field Operations supervisor for the city of Ann Arbor, gives some tree planting tips.
Steve Goebel, Field Operations supervisor for the city of Ann Arbor, gives some tree planting tips.

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.

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1 Comment

  1. All the ideas put into this project were amazing!! I really enjoyed this article. Here’s what I found so great about this project:
    1) The use of math skills beyond the classroom was a brilliant idea to help students understand math in the real world!
    2) Learning from Ann Arbor City workers & working toward a common goal was a really neat idea as well!
    3) The thought out idea where the kids can see the trees they planted every day when they go to school is fantastic! This will give them a lot of pride & helps remind them of contributions they made. Even years later after graduation when they visit their old school they can see what a difference they made on this 2016 Earth Day!
    Thank you to the 11 Scarlett Middle School students, Mr. Dejonge, City of Ann Abor workers, photographer, news writer & the Elizabeth Dean Commitee for making this happen!! I look toward to seeing these beautiful trees grow. Every time I see the trees I will remember & appreciate the story behind it all!

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