Dominion’s Project Plant It! blossoms with new ways to engage elementary students in metro Richmond in learning about trees and the environment. The program has earned the 2012 Public Awareness of Trees award from the Arbor Day Foundation and also has been recognized by the Virginia Association of Science Teachers.
All of the elementary schools in Richmond Public Schools will teach Project Plant It! this year. Other participating school systems in the Richmond region include Henrico, purchase Chesterfield, rx Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan and Petersburg.
In January, teachers in participating school systems received a kit with lesson plans, posters, stickers and other instructional tools. All of the teaching materials align with state learning standards for math, science, language arts and social studies.
A new lesson plan for the 2013 program helps students understand the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources, as well as encouraging them to explore the many uses of energy in their lives.
The cornerstone of the program is the distribution of a redbud tree seedling to each participating student on Arbor Day (April 26). “This beautiful tree species is native to Virginia, and children will enjoy caring for it and watching it grow,” said Paulin Cheatham, spokesman for Dominion’s Project Plant It! Dominion is the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power.
“We have been a part of Project Plant It! since it began in 2007,” said Alethia Elam, instructional specialist for elementary science education for Richmond Public Schools. “It’s an educational program that teaches 21st century learning skills and we are proud to offer it in all of our third-grade classrooms.”
Lucien Ainger, a third-grade student at John B. Cary Elementary in Richmond, was selected as the student spokesperson for Project Plant It! in 2013. His involvement in the school’s gardening program prompted his principal, Brenda Phillips, to recommend him for the role of student expert on Project Plant It!
Ainger will be interviewed by radio, television and newspaper representatives in the weeks leading up to Arbor Day. “Trees do lots of things for us, like providing oxygen, shade, food and a shelter for birds and animals,” he said. “They are really important for our environment.”
Since 2007, Project Plant It! has distributed more than 160,000 tree seedlings to students in seven states. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, this equates to 400 acres of new forest if all of the tree seedlings are planted and grow to maturity.
The website, www.projectplantit.com, features videos and interactive games about trees. Students can enjoy a leaf memory/matching game, a tree identification exercise and several jigsaw-style puzzles that give a tree trivia fact when the puzzle is completed correctly. All of the games and videos align with third-grade science learning standards about plant life and vocabulary.
Project Plant It! is provided by Dominion at no cost to schools. For more information, visit the website. Also, be sure to “Like” Project Plant It! on Facebook to see stories and photos of students who are making a difference for the environment.
Tree Reading List
A Tree is a Plant by Clyde Robert Bulla
A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorron
Be a Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber
Discovering Trees by Douglas Florian
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Leaves by Rena Kirkpatrick
Leaves and Trees by Elaine Pascoe
Mighty Tree by Dick Gackenbach
Outside and Inside Trees by Sandra Markle
Sky Tree by Thomas Locker
Trees by Martyn Hamer
Trees by Andrew Langley
Trees by Jonathan Pine