‘Every tree has a story’

City holds Arbor Day tree planting ceremony

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 30, 2015

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SOUTHFIELD — The shovel might have been twice their size, but that didn’t stop a group of excited kindergarteners and first-graders from planting a tree in on their playground April 24.

At 1:15 p.m., representatives from the city of Southfield, City Forester Leo Clower and Councilman Ken Siver, held a tree planting ceremony in observance of Arbor Day at Adlai Stevenson Elementary, along with Principal Sandra LaPerriere and the school’s kindergarten and first-grade classes.

With a little help from Clower and a few city workers, the kindergarteners planted a river birch and a dawn redwood on the grounds of the school.

Clower said a river birch was selected for the location because it does well with a high amount of moisture — which will hopefully remedy an issue that Stevenson’s playground has been riddled with.

LaPerriere said that recently, students have been faced with the task of jumping over a large puddle to get to their play structures.

Not only will the river birch soak up the moisture, but both trees are extremely durable, Clower said. The trees are also disease- and insect- resistant, he said.

“They’re awesome. They’re very fast growers and durable, and with kids, you need durable,” Clower said.

Siver presented LaPerriere and the school with a plaque commemorating the event. Each year, a different school is chosen to hold the ceremony.

“We live in a time where the Earth is warming, and it’s important more than ever that we plant trees,” Siver told the students.

According to Clower, in order to be recognized as a Tree City, USA — a title that Southfield has held for 29 years and a title by which the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes cities for their community forestry management efforts — a ceremony must be held celebrating Arbor Day.

“I think it’s important for them to learn about the environment and nature, and make sure they understand the process and growth of trees, and to understand we’re here to help the Earth,” teacher Lisa Richmond said.

LaPerriere said she hopes the ceremony will stick with the students.

“I like to think that even when they’re grown and have children of their own, they’ll be able to come back and show their children that the tree is still here and that they planted it,” LaPerriere said. “That’s the awesomeness and the beauty of trees is that they’re part of our neighborhood, part of our community, and every tree has a story.”

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