Arbor Day Event

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Teacher Miranda Polodna holds a tree branch still while Public Works Co-Manager Terry Meyer demonstrates how to properly prune branches. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Students watch as Prairie du Chien Park Board Chair Tom Nelson plants a tree. For more photos, please see the Courier Press’ Facebook page.

Students, teachers, parents and city officials took a group photo with an Arbor Day flag and the Tree City USA plaque. (Photos by Correne Martin)

 

 

First graders celebrate trees at Arbor Day event

By Correne Martin

 

Arbor Day is always a special one in Prairie du Chien. At least, if you ask the first graders in the school district, they will agree. On Friday, April 24, students in first grade at Prairie du Chien’s public and Catholic schools took part in an hour of activities related to trees, the environment and conservation, hosted by the city of Prairie du Chien. The morning of outdoor learning took place at the St. Feriole Island Memorial Gardens, just before the clouds opened and raindrops fell.

The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Preston and Natalie, who held a brand new American Flag that is now flying over the Trail of Presidents trees two blocks north of the Memorial Gardens. 

Then, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Ulrich accepted a Tree City USA plaque from Brian Wahl, an urban forestry coordinator with the DNR. This is the first year Prairie du Chien has been recognized as a Tree City, and the designation has helped Wisconsin become number two in the nation for its number of Tree City USA cities. The process of earning the Tree City award began for Prairie du Chien in 2011 when it received a Wisconsin DNR urban forestry grant. This allowed the city to begin an inventory of its 3,000 trees and come up with a management plan for them. The city has enacted an emerald ash borer plan as well. The fact that the Trail of Presidents trees were planted on the island also helped boost the city’s potential for the honor.

“This all shows that Prairie du Chien really cares about the environment, trees and conservation,” Wahl stated. 

Once the students, teachers, parents and city officials took a group photo with the plaque and an Arbor Day flag, the kids broke into three groups, led by Wahl, Prairie du Chien Public Works Co-Manager Terry Meyer and Prairie du Chien Park Board Chair Tom Nelson. The men talked about what trees do for the community, the importance of taking care of and planting trees, history and species of trees and more.

To complete the outing, the first graders gathered around a young tree that was planted in their honor. They were encouraged to come back to the island with their families once a year to check on their tree and appreciate it.

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