The Boardman Lions Club visited more than 380 fourth graders Friday to deliver Norway Spruce saplings for the kids to plant for Arbor Day as part of a Lions Club program called Fourth Grade Foresters.
''Our club [visited] Stadium Drive, Robinwood Lane, Market Street and West Boulevard Elementary Schools on April 25 and St. Charles on May 2,'' said Terry Shears of the Boardman Lions. ''This is a great opportunity for our elementary school students to become involved in a worthwhile environmental project and also learn the value that trees provide in all of our lives.''
Club members wanted to get the trees in the hands of the kids so they could become part of the Arbor Day celebration, which is April 28 in Ohio. Along with receiving the free sapling, the students learned planting techniques and learned the importance of trees. Club member Kathy Collins said they related that importance to the children by using a famous book.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Boardman Lions Club members visited all four Boardman elementary school buildings and St. Charles on Friday to hand out trees to fourth graders as a way to celebrate Arbor Day. Stadium Drive fourth graders front row from left are: Jacob Gibson, Lucas Beeman and Cailin Fowler. Lions Club members back row from left are: Kris Dailey, Ken Matteson and Kathy Collins.
''Back in 1971, the Dr. Suess book The Lorax was written about the importance of trees,'' Collins said. ''It was about a mythical creature who tried to rid the world of trees.''
According to Collins, while preparing for Friday's event, she did some research on Arbor Day and found that the first one was held in Nebraska in 1842. She said President Grover Cleveland made it a national event and President Richard Nixon set it annually in April.
As for Boardman, Collins said this is the fourth year the club has been visiting the schools and giving out the free trees.
''This project is made possible because community business people like the Boardman Lions covered the cost of each of the individually packaged evergreen trees, so that there is no cost to the students, the teachers, the school, or the taxpayer,'' said Debra Ersch. co-founder of the Fourth Grade Foresters Project. ''It's a wonderful way to show support for the community, education and the environment.''
The trees the kids received were packaged by workers with disabilities.
Collins said each child was given simple instructions on planting the trees and caring for them. Over the weekend, the kids could either plant the tree at their home or take it to a grandparents house or other relative. By Monday, Boardman Township had close to 400 new trees beautifying neighborhoods and homes for years to come.
''As Boardman Lions, we serve the community,'' Collins said. ''This is our way to give back to the environment.''