For the past two years the City of Lynnwood has celebrated Arbor Day with 860 fourth graders in the Edmonds School District by teaming up with Fourth Grade Foresters USA. Through this program, each fourth grader goes home with a tree of his or her very own to plant and care for.
The Fourth Grade Foresters USA program was first started in 2007, and since then more than 300,000 trees have been presented to fourth graders all over the country. The program’s goal is to revitalize observation of Arbor Day in America’s schools, and to bring schools, individuals, businesses and organizations together to have direct positive impact on the urban forests of their communities.
The cost of the trees is minimal, and the City was able to purchase them through the city’s Tree Voucher Program. There was no cost to the students, the teachers, or the schools.
Douglas fir trees, native to the northwest, was the tree of choice. They arrived in clear heat-sealed bags with planting and care instructions attached. The students learned that every tree had been individually packaged by workers with disabilities. Included with each tree was information on Arbor Day and the environmental benefits of trees.
Participation in this program was an opportunity to give back to the community one tree at a time by educating students of the importance of trees in the environment, and the responsibility of caring for trees.
The little trees are now planted in back yards and in city parks and open space. They are being cared for by 860 students in the Lynnwood school district. This new generation of trees will have a positive impact on urban reforestation in Lynnwood.
Participation in the Fourth Grade Foresters USA program is a great way to celebrate Arbor Day, and it also helped Lynnwood reach its Tree City USA goals.
Thanks to Laurie Cowan, City of Lynnwood Parks Recreation & Cultural Arts, for assistance with this article.