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St. Clair Shores

May 3, 2013

Violet Elementary helps Shores earn Tree City USA distinction

By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer

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St. Clair Shores presented Violet Elementary School with a Tree City USA banner from the Arbor Day Foundation in thanks for the first-graders’ help planting four new trees on the school grounds April 26.

With a day that dawned sunny and bright, eight brand-new shovels stood ready to establish four new trees in the grounds of Violet Elementary school, with the help of some very eager first-grade students.

Helped by members of the St. Clair Shores Department of Public Works’ forestry department, the students learned that their pear and sugar cone maple trees were just a few of the hundreds of trees planted in St. Clair Shores each year.

“Today,” DPW Director Bryan Babcock explained on Arbor Day, April 26, “there’s kids across the whole country planting trees.”

This is the 25th year that the city has been named a “Tree City USA,” and Babcock began to the students why trees were so beneficial. From the fun — to climb, to give leaves for a fall pile or sticks for marshmallow roasts — to the factual — providing shade and saving energy — he helped the students to see how their shovelfuls of dirt would help their community for years to come.

“Right now, we’re learning about life cycles,” said first-grade teacher Stephanie Knoblock. “It’s great for them to be learning about trees, themselves: the roots, the branches.”

The first-graders seemed to be getting the message.

“It gives more air to the earth,” said six-year-old Noah Devine, when asked why trees were important.

Other students pointed out that trees are natural resources and provide homes for animals, as well.

“The city’s been very generous to our school,” said Violet Elementary Principal Elizabeth Netschke. All the trees on the school’s north side have been planted by St. Clair Shores, she explained.

She said the building’s southwest corner used to be shaded by a large willow tree, but it had to be taken down in 2012 to make room for a walking track on the school’s west side. The new trees were planted along Evergreen Street, in view of the track.

“We wanted to add some more shade and replace it,” Netschke said. “They need to know about new life, as well.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske at kdemske@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1041.