Students learn about nature on way to plant trees


JAY — Second-graders learned about nature on their way to plant Christmas trees on town-owned recreation land, a tradition that started last year.

Teacher Rob Taylor was waiting for the second-graders when they got off the bus at an upper portion of the recreation land behind the high school.

The project goal is to have students take care of the trees throughout their school years as they learn different lessons about nature in the classroom.

During their senior years, students will each harvest a tree knowing that it most likely won’t be the one they initially planted with a partner.

Once students, teachers and chaperons were gathered on the slightly, windy Friday, Taylor began instruction on nature. The wind kept the black flies at bay.

Taylor explained about the 200 or so acre parcel and how there was a network of trails.

He also told students they needed to stay on the trail and not wander off.

Students learned about the mountains they could see in the distance including Mt. Abram.

As they started down the hill, they veered to the right following a grassy trail. Taylor stopped to show three-leaved plants that were not dangerous and one that was. There is red-leaved poison Ivy that appears to have an oily sheen on it growing in the grass beside the trail. Poison ivy may also have green leaves, he said.

Stay away from them, he said.

Once at the plot, where other students and members of Taylor’s Explorer Post 897 had already done some work including digging holes, it was time to plant.

Last year schoolchildren and adults helped plot the grid for planting. Three hundred balsam fir trees were planted last year but some died.

Second-graders were helping to plant 100 more trees.

“Your job is to help fill in where another tree has died,” Taylor told them.

After some quick lessons in planting, children and adults went to work with help from Explorer Post members Nick Raymond and Ryan Crocker, both in college, high school junior, Geordan Brown and sophomores Ian Gingras and Isaac Couture.

Jack Bryant and Bryson Bailey, both in the second grade, paired off to plant a sapling.

Bryant held the plant while Bailey took handfuls of dirt from a pile and filled in around the roots.

They planned to watch the tree grow and let Mother Nature do her work, the boys said.

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