By Sarah Hunt
Did you know that 2012 marks the 140th anniversary of Arbor Day? J. Sterling Morton, the founder of the annual tree-planting celebration in 1872, would be delighted that more than 10,000 elementary students in the Richmond region, including almost 2,000 third-graders in Richmond Public Schools, are participating in Project Plant It!, a program developed by Dominion to educate children, plant trees and improve the environment.
Project Plant It!, which will soon be recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation, distributes free tree seedlings to each participating student. The program provides teachers with a comprehensive kit of lesson plans, posters, stickers and other instructional tools that align with Standards of Learning in core curriculum subjects. It is offered to schools in the areas served by Dominion, parent company of Dominion Virginia Power.
Project Plant It! has reached more than 100,000 students since 2007 and will be honored with the Public Awareness of Trees Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation in late April 2012.
Website Makes Learning Fun
Students can boost their knowledge about trees and the environment, while watching videos and playing interactive online games at www.projectplantit.com.
On the “Student” tab, there are several videos to learn about trees and how to care for them. In addition, the website has three fun games to teach students about plant life and vocabulary, including timed jigsaw puzzles, a leaf matching game, and a tree identification game.
On the “Teacher” tab, there’s a Teacher Toolbox listing the materials that can be downloaded at no charge. Parents will love “Get Active!” (found in the “View teacher resources” area of the “Teacher” tab), which features almost a dozen ideas for families to enjoy a personal encounter with Mother Nature.
RPS Schools Love Project Plant It!
All of the elementary schools in the Richmond Public School System have participated in Project Plant It! since it launched in 2007. “Project Plant It! continues to provide high quality instructional materials,” said Felicia Cosby, Communications Officer for Richmond Public Schools. “The science lesson plans sharpen a student’s skills in scientific observation and analysis. The math lesson plans help students estimate how tall a tree will grow. There’s even a tree reading list for book reports and a social studies exercise to teach students about trees around the world.”
Cosby also noted that Project Plant It! makes a long-lasting impression on students by giving them a tree of their own. “The children can plant their seedling in the yard, in a container or in another special place and watch it grow over the years,” she said. “That’s why we continue to support this enriching, hands-on program each spring.”
For more information, visit www.projectplantit.com. You can “Like” Project Plant It! on Facebook to view photos and stories about kids making a difference in their communities.