MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Elementary school students have a job to do over spring break: Properly plant more than 500 trees-to-be to mark the annual observance of Arbor Day.
Each student at Middle Township Elementary School No. 1 cradled a seedling as he or she left an assembly focused on the stewardship of natural resources.
This is the seventh year of a project that has distributed more than 10,000 seedlings to students in Cape May County elementary schools. Lomax Consulting Group of Cape May Court House sponsors the project in collaboration with Middle Township and the Middle Township School District.
“It is amazing to think of all the trees that have been planted and nurtured through this project,” said township Committeeman Michael Clark, who participated in the assembly. “We are proud of this program and its impact on youth, on the community and on the environment.”
At Monday’s assembly, students in kindergarten through grade two heard information about environmental responsibility and watched the video “Plant a Tree with Me.” The six-minute film was created by Middle Township High School senior Sofia Lomax, who will be studying documentary film making in college next year. The video can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=OityP2nR0o8.
Each student walked away from that assembly with a seedling in a tube along with instructions for planting it and caring for it.
“Every year, our students love taking part in this effort,” Principal Christian Paskalides said. “It is, quite literally, a way for them to carry a lesson out of the classroom and into their world.”
Those seedlings included Eastern white pine and white oak, and all were grown at the New Jersey Forest Nursery in Jackson Township. The donation, assembly, and at-home activity are intended to inspire future generations to understand and embrace their responsibility for natural resource stewardship.
“The children look forward to this project each year,” said second-grade teacher Kim Banks. “They love the opportunity to be a part of the program and share their knowledge with their peers and members of our community.”
Arbor Day is celebrated in New Jersey, like most of the nation, on the last Friday of April when ground temperatures and weather forecasts bode well for saplings to take root.