Arbor Day - school views one symbolic ornamental planted

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 05/02/2009 - 08:40.

arbor day school kids watch as ornamental is planted

April 30th was Arbor Day.   

As I  went by a park I noticed that a suburban town crew was waiting around a newly installed Magnolia.    My first thought was “Whoa! Look at the taxes go!”   But then I heard the kids coming en masse from the nearby school waving signs and I was a little less cynical about the city tree crew hanging around.   They were waiting for the kids.

Today  when I went to post the image I began to think about what this lesson was for the school kids:   None of them even picked up a shovel or touched the dirt.  

When I was a 6th grader a few of my classmates and I were the lucky kids in the school who got to plant the Arbor Day tree in front of our grade school.  The tree was a Douglas Fir to match a series of other Arbor Day firs planted along the street in front of the school.   

Back then the kids dug the hole…

And our real estate taxes were lower.  

But that's not the point.  

The point is the kid's should work to dig a hole in the earth with a shovel.   It isn't easy putting a hole in the ground.   That's a good lesson to learn.   And today with atmospheric carbon rising, the lesson should include planting many trees, not one ornamental.  

What pedagogy (Montessori,  Public, Waldorf, Catholic, Hebrew) would have the kids dig?


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 So many kids have lost touch with reality.  They are made to never grow-up.

I am reminded of my own father once calling me a brat, after watching the "kids" at Kent State whine and complain over their arrest for their recent year-end drunken debauchery.  And, folks are afraid of inner-city kids?

Not an indigenous tree, it


Not an indigenous tree, it does not produce fruit, it just for looks. What was the lesson? The teacher likes pretty trees that produce flowers. I would not be so sure that some of those children actually did not discus that, oh, for sure they did. That in itself is a lesson.

If not for today maybe tomorrow? That tree if it survives will stand out, each one of those children reminded every spring, if they do not move away as many do. But coming back they will be reminded and some may not think much and some may question, why a magnolia?

In our society we often have to have a parent signoff, they may have not been allowed to let the children dig a hole? Who knows, maybe the only tree they could get donated was that type? Maybe someone else made the decision like a green house. Maybe they paid for the tree I doubt it though.

I do not think children change that much, you should not generalize them as lost souls. I have children in my life and they amaze me all the time, some more than others.

Sometimes things that really are not all that can inspire critical thinking. Like knocking over that tree could? What damages one can enlighten another.

I had an excellent science and biology curriculum in grade school, dedicated math and science. I remember one of my classmates asking if it was feasible to send nuclear waste in rockets into the sun? We were only 12...the instructor said, what if it crashed at lift off. The class went ohhhhh.