Apple tree gifts promote students’ Earth Day efforts

For the rest of the school year, the students will take care of the two apple trees just like the students in the future

The two apple trees that kindergarten students planted at the Evergreen Heights Education Center in Emsdale are only a few feet tall now.

But in the future, when students return to the location as adults and see two mature trees producing lots of apples, they will be able to say “I planted those trees.”

The apple trees, one being Norland and the other Haralred, were awarded to class teacher Skye Goulbourne for their winning entry in an Earth Day contest sponsored by the Near North District School Board.

The contest invites students across the board to show how they support the environment, manage waste and carbon and also develop a school space.

As part of the contest, Kindergarten students Skye Goulbourne learn how to use both sides of paper, and turn off the water when brushing their teeth, make crafts with recycled paper and, when they spend the afternoon outside during Earth Day, turn off the classroom lights.

Goulbourne said earlier this year a family donated an empty DVD box to his class asking if he could use it.

“We gladly accepted it because we all want to turn trash into treasure in kindergarten,” said Goulbourne.

He said it was decided the students would make Earth Day decorations.

On Earth Day, kindergarten students paint blue dots on the case to represent our planet and also write ‘Happy Earth Day’ on it.

After the winner was announced, the students had to wait for the little apple tree to come.

On the day of tree planting, Goulbourne and other staff at the school dug two holes and both trees were placed in the holes.

Goulbourne said each student took turns filling the hole by scooping soil into the tree roots.

Goulbourne says as the youngest and smallest students in the school, kindergarten students are limited in what activities they can participate in compared to their older peers.

So when they can take part in activities that everyone in the school can enjoy “it instills a sense of community,” he said.

For the remainder of the school year, the students will care for the two apple trees just as future students would.

And as they progress through grades, Goulbourne says they and the other students will be able to do things with the apples the tree produces.

“I think there’s going to be a real sense of pride in students knowing they’re doing that,” he said.

The board’s Secondary Program Coordinator, Lisa Spencer, said the Near North board “seeks to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in learning about the world around them.”

Spencer said the board of teachers and students from kindergarten through Grade 12 planned an extraordinary activity for the contest on the theme of investing in the planet.

All classes are invited to notify the council ward committee of their activities and among those activities, the committee will select a school to receive two apple trees.

Kindergarten students’ hands at the Evergreen Heights Education Center might get a little dirty, which they may enjoy planting trees.

But in the process, they also learned valuable lessons about gardening and caring for the environment.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter working at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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