ACE, Musson, West recognized with tree-planting program

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 14, 2012

 Musson Elementary School planted the tree it received near a picnic area to provide shade for children.

Musson Elementary School planted the tree it received near a picnic area to provide shade for children.

Photo provided

ROCHESTER — Three Rochester Community Schools recently received a free tree from the Alliance of Rouge Communities for being recognized as Michigan Green Schools.

The district’s Alternative Center for Education (ACE), Musson Elementary School and West Middle School had the choice of four different varieties of trees, which were planted on school grounds Nov. 1, and they were also given boxes containing 25 white pine seedlings for their efforts. The larger trees, which are native to southeast Michigan, include sugar maple, eastern redbud, tulip and basswood.

Musson Principal Victoria Righter said the school planted the big, deciduous tree it received near the picnic tables.

“In the future, that will provide a natural shade for the kids, as they are out there eating lunch,” she said.

The 25 white pine seedlings, which need a little bit more love, were planted in a landscape bed in a protected nursery area.

“As those take off and get a little bigger — like when they get to be three feet — we are going to transport those; some will go on the perimeter of our playground and some will go in the drop-off loop,” Righter said.

Michigan Green Schools Co-chair at West Middle School Gina Randall, who also serves as leader of the school’s Eco-Warriors Environmental Club, said an Eastern Redbud tree was planted at the north end of the school’s property. The school’s 25 white pine seedlings were given to each of the members of the school’s Eco-Warriors Environmental group to take home.

“We chose the location in the hopes of adding other trees in that area, which is big and open. Hopefully this will be the first of many,” she said. “The tree blooms purple in the spring, so we look forward to that nice display in the spring.”

ACE Principal Susan Demeniuk could not be reached for comment at press time.

This is the third year ARC —a voluntary public watershed entity that encourages watershed-wide cooperation and mutual support to meet water-quality permit requirements and to restore beneficial uses of the Rouge River to area residents — has offered the program to select Oakland County schools that qualify as Michigan Green Schools within the Rouge River Watershed.

Now in its sixth year in Oakland County, the Michigan Green Schools Program challenges all public or private K-12 schools to initiate energy-saving activities and introduce programs to further environmental education. In Oakland County, 183 schools attained Michigan Green School status for the 2011-2012 school year. Applications for the 2012-2013 Michigan Green School program are due by March 1, 2013.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement that getting kids involved in learning to be environmentally responsible is an integral part of developing a green and sustainable future.

“Thanks to the dedicated effort of the school community, students and their families are learning firsthand the importance of protecting our resources and saving energy,” he said in a statement.

For more information on the Michigan Green School program, visit