The Waynesboro Department of Parks and Recreation hosted an Arbor Day program at Ridgeview Park on April 27, 2012 for the first graders at Westwood Hills Elementary. The first grade class, about eighty students in all, came out for the afternoon to learn a bit about trees, their function and their contributions. In order to keep the kids excited with a variety of activities, Parks and Recreation enlisted the help of a local tree company, Williams Brothers’ Lawn and Tree Service. The day could not have been better- the students, teachers, and other onlookers all enjoyed themselves and walked away knowing a little bit more about trees.
The day began with a proclamation read by Dwayne Jones, the Director of Parks and Recreation, followed by the planting of the Arbor Day Tree. A beautiful Pignut Hickory, generously donated by the Wenonah Garden Club, was planted. During the planting, the general characteristics of this tree species were discussed hinting at the ‘right tree, right location’ concept. Kids interacted with Parks and Recreation staff by helping shovel dirt into the hole and answering general questions about tree structure and the functions of its parts.
For the rest of the afternoon the students were divided up into four groups to rotate between 20 minute programs led by Parks and Recreation and Williams Brothers’ Tree and Lawn Service. The Williams Brothers’ brought their tree climbing gear and showed the little ones how they do it and how they do it safely. A 60 foot oak was ascended and some smaller limbs were removed. Parks and Recreation had the most fun of all with the kids making Sticky Pinecone Birdfeeders and decorating Bluebird boxes. Kids got messy as they learned about how birds and other animals rely on trees for food and shelter.
The Pignut Hickory is a common tree in the eastern forests of North America. The nuts ripen in September and October and are an important part of the diet of many wild animals. The wood is used for a variety of products, including fuel for home heating. Pignut Hickories can grow to 50 to 70 feet tall. Leaves turn bright yellow in autumn.