Story by Katie Bisaro
The chill in the air and intermittent drizzle didn’t dampen the spirits of the first graders from Park Ave. Elementary School who gathered in Stanley-Deming Park for the annual Village of Warwick Arbor Day festivities on Fri., Apr. 26.
Mayor Michael Newhard, Shade Tree Commissioner Robert Scheuermann and Warwick Valley Gardener Patricia Reinhardt gathered with the Park Ave. students to talk about the importance of trees in the community. Scheuermann asked the students for their thoughts and they readily pointed out that trees help keep the air clean, provide animal habitats for birds and squirrels, provide food, shade and shelter, lumber for houses, and paper.
This year the Village planted a Yellowwood tree which, while more native to the South or Midwest, should do well and grow to forty or fifty feet in height. Newhard also told those gathered that there are plans to create an arboretum in the upper part of Stanley-Deming park, a sort of “outdoor museum” with an opportunity to learn about a variety of species of trees and plants.
Newhard reminded the students to return every year to see how much “their” tree had grown. He pointed out a tree in the park, near the basketball courts, that had been planted when he was young and noted how tall it was now.
Patricia Reinhardt of the Warwick Valley Gardeners’ and former teacher at both Park Ave. School and the now-closed Kings Elementary, spoke and told the first graders how thrilled she was that they were so enthusiastic about Arbor Day and the importance of trees.
“I love that you think this is so important,” Reinhardt said.
She also thanked the Mayor, the Village of Warwick, the Shade Tree Commissioner and the Village Dept. of Public Works for their efforts in choosing, placing and planting the Yellowwood tree.
With golden shovels in hand, two students from each class helped ceremoniously shovel dirt back into the hole where the new tree was placed.
Finally, Craig Wadeson and Park Ave. Principal Sandra Wood passed out evergreen seedlings to each of the first graders to take home and plant. The seedlings were donated courtesy of Wadeson’s Home Center on Forester Ave. in Warwick.
As the rain came down a little more steadily, the first graders, tree seedlings in hand, made their way back up to school. They will surely remember a part of the poem that was read by Reinhardt commemorating the day:
“Find the tree that you like best,
and stand beneath its shade;
stretch your arms around its trunk,
and a hug a tree today!”