The Ties that Binds Us
Arboretum Ribbons Foster Tree Education In Chicago Schools; Unite Students
LISLE, IL (April 10, 2009) - For the first time ever, Chicago schoolchildren in all 50 wards are tied together, so to speak, in a highly unique ribbon project to educate themselves-and us-about the many benefits of trees. More than 1,500 fourth graders have written messages on vibrant, green ribbons saying why trees are important to them. The ribbons will be placed on a large TriumphTM elm tree that will be prominently displayed on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago April 19-24, boosting the youngsters' pride for their role in decorating this highly visible symbol of tree planting and protection.
"The ribbon project is a far-reaching effort to unite kids throughout Chicago in a single tree celebration and education project," says Edith Makra, arborist and Community Trees Advocate with The Morton Arboretum, which supplied the ribbons.
The goal is to help create tomorrow's environmental leaders as kids learn to appreciate trees. Arbor Day (April 24), the nation's oldest environmental holiday, is dedicated to planting trees. And the youngsters' insightful written messages remind us all that trees provide so much.
"One tree makes a difference to me because they supply oxygen and they help us to survive. Without them there would be no life at all. They are a big part of us. They are life. Wherever you find trees you find life," said a fourth-grader of New Sullivan School on South Mackinaw. Said a fourth-grader of Woodlawn Community School on South Kimbark: "Trees bring you joy." (See more ribbon comments below.)
Following its stay on Michigan Avenue, the Triumph will be planted in a public ceremony where President Obama gave his triumphant speech to the nation on election night: Grant Park's Hutchinson Field. The Arboretum-developed Triumph is highly disease and pest resistant, and is drought tolerant. This elm has been planted throughout the Chicago region to replace stately American elms that fell victim to Dutch elm disease.
The Arboretum's theme for this year's Arbor Day is "One Tree Makes A Difference." Children are encouraged to think about how one student, one school, one community, and one city can make a difference in greening our world.
To cultivate a deeper appreciation for trees among children, the Arboretum partnered with the Chicago Bureau of Forestry and cooperators to facilitate in-school Arbor Day presentations. These typically involve a presentation in which each student receives an Arboretum-supplied booklet with educational puzzles and brainteasers, and a tree-planting, which makes a tremendous impact on students, Makra says.
"They get a sense of ownership for the tree that's planted. They get an opportunity to care for it and wish it happy birthday for Arbor Day," she says.
"Once we start talking with them, they realize what trees provide. They know that books come from trees, as do paper, baseball bats, their favorite fruits, chocolate, and more," Makra says.
To help ducators teach children about trees in a fun, engaging way, the Arboretum has rolled out a special section of its website at www.mortonarb.org with free, downloadable resources. It contains educational programs, activities, and games; all geared toward helping teachers meet natural sciences teaching objectives.
Among the cooperators in Arbor Day school programs are the Chicago Conservation Corps, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, both under the United States Department of Agriculture; Treekeepers of Openlands; Illinois Forestry Development Council; the American Society of Landscape Architects; and the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges our Arbor Week sponsors: JEWEL-OSCO, the Supporting Sponsor, and additional support for education programs comes from JPMorgan Chase and Company.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS THAT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN WROTE ON RIBBONS
"A tree could give an insect a lunch, and we need insects," - from Ogden Elementary on West Walton
"One tree makes a difference to me because it gives us oxygen and makes our community look a little better." - from Higgins School on South Morgan
"One tree makes a big difference because if one person plants a tree that will inspire more people and they will plant one too." - from Canty School on North Panama
"When a tree grows for years and years, it holds special memories we can all share and it becomes a part of this world." - also from Canty school
"We need trees to live! Trees Rock. You should love trees. Trees rule. Life is nothing without trees. Love = more trees," - from Pritzker School on West Schiller
"Trees make a beautiful touch to the world. They are so beautiful in the fall, when their leaves change different colors. When their leaves fall, we have colorful sidewalks." -also from Pritzker School
"A tree makes a difference to me because it is another B.F.F. to take care of!" - from Franklin School on West Evergreen
"One tree makes a difference because one tree has a seed that you can reproduce to grow more trees." - from Henry H. Nash Elementary on West Erie.
"A tree makes a difference in my life because it provides relaxation. I can just sit under the shade of a tree and get away from the noise of my brother and sister." - from Bell Elementary on North Oakley
"One tree makes a difference to me by giving oxygen to our world and food to our bugs and animals. It makes my life look wonderful and beautiful. Ah nature!" - from Cooper Dual Language Academy
"I enjoy planting. One tree can provide oxygen to make the plants healthy and strong and to keep the plants dancing in the wind." - from Bass Elementary on West 66th Street.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission - the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit www.mortonarb.org or call to learn more.
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