By Suyapa Marquez, Senior Community Affairs Representative
Each year, Dominion’s Project Plant It! finds fresh ways to educate children about the role of trees in the ecosystem. The program began in 2007, making this year the 11th observance and Project Plant It! continues to grow into new areas served by Dominion.
A hallmark of the program is the distribution of a free redbud tree seedling to all participants prior to Arbor Day (April 28). About 50,000 children are enrolled across a number of states this year, including several thousand in the public school systems of the Richmond metro region.
Dominion recently expanded enrollment to educators and group leaders who work with children of all ages and grade levels. This enables scout troops, church and civic groups, homeschools and preschools to sign up for Project Plant It!, along with elementary, middle and high schools.
Interactive Tools for Educators
The Educator’s Guide, which is posted at www.ProjectPlantIt.com in the section for educator resources, has more than 50 pages of educational tools such as lesson plans in STEM subjects of math and science.
A new interactive feature has been added to the Educator’s Guide this year. Leaders can click on the lesson plan that they want to view and be taken directly to that page, instead of having to scroll through the entire booklet as in the past.
Along with the Educator’s Guide, the website includes educational games, instructional videos and outdoor activities for children and families to enjoy together. Tree reading lists and links to many other resources about environmental education can be found on the site.
Tips for Planting Tree Seedlings
If your child brings home a seedling in late April, Dominion offers some tips to ensure that the trees are planted promptly and properly:
- For your safety, call 811 before you dig on the spot you have selected. Do not plant trees underneath or within 25 feet of an overhead power line. Do not plant trees on top of underground power, cable, phone or gas lines.
- If planting in the yard at home: Select a sunny location with moist, well-drained soil. Dig a hole just deep enough to cover the root ball. Plant the seedling, cover the root ball with soil and mulch, and water frequently during the first year.
- If planting in a container: Fill a one-gallon pot with potting soil. Dig a hole just deep enough to cover the root ball. Plant the seedling, cover the root ball with soil and water as needed during the first year. Place pot in a place that gets regular sunlight.
“Children will always remember the experience of planting a tree, taking care of it and watching it grow over the years,” said Suyapa Marquez, Senior Community Affairs Representative at Dominion. “Project Plant It! connects children to the environment in a unique and meaningful way.”
Since 2007, Dominion has distributed more than 400,000 tree seedlings to participating children. This equates to more than 1,000 acres of new forest if all of the seedlings are planted and grow to maturity. [Source: Virginia Department of Forestry]
For more information, visit www.ProjectPlantIt.com or “Like” the program on Facebook.