Paynter, McAnnulty students branching out of the classroom
There's Sidney Crosby, Mrs. Toki, Rainbow Apple and even Olaf, named after the snowman in Disney's movie, “Frozen.”
After digging, planting, mulching, watering and learning about the 50 newly planted apple, pine and elm trees in front of Paynter and McAnnulty elementary schools in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District, the students' final task appeared to be the most daunting: naming the tree that they will help foster.
“My favorite part is digging the dirt up and finding worms,” said Elliot Giusti, 7.
First-graders at Paynter and McAnnulty, during the last two weeks, helped to plant trees in front of their schools. Baldwin-Whitehall received 50 free trees from TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, through a grant received by Economic Development South and the Brentwood-Baldwin-Whitehall Shade Tree Commission.
TreeVitalize Pittsburgh awards grants, which consist of free trees and support services, in the spring and fall each year since 2008, said Marah Vecenie, community outreach assistant. They give away 3,000 to 4,000 trees each year, but have never connected this closely with a school, she said.
“It was a new process and a very fun one,” she said. “We just wanted to make sure that the kids got an education.... “The kids just bring a whole new life to it.”
Representatives from TreeVitalize Pittsburgh explained each step to the first-graders to make sure they were learning about the mulch, watering and planting process, Vecenie said. Their questions brought about a new level of learning for those already well-educated in tree planting.
“Kids see things a lot differently than we do,” she said.
The tree planting fit right into Baldwin-Whitehall's curriculum.
Kindergartners have a unit all about trees, and second-graders learn about soil.
“It's really a fundamental building block,” said Andrea Huffman, director of curriculum.
The plan is for the youngsters to continue with the upkeep of the trees, Huffman said.
The trees also help the students have a lasting connection to their school, Superintendent Randal Lutz said.
“These kids, for the next four or five years, they'll see these trees that they planted every day when they come to school,” he said.
Once they move on from elementary school, “they'll always have that connection back to the school,” Lutz said.
Baldwin, Whitehall and Brentwood boroughs each already have received free trees for their municipal properties from TreeVitalize Pittsburgh.
“Once you plant a tree, it's like you own that tree. You're always checking up on it and seeing how it's doing,” said Stephanie Miller, manager of projects and initiatives for Economic Development South.
The hallways at McAnnulty were filled with dirt after the planting, Principal DJ Emanuelson said. But neither he, nor the custodial staff minded, because they knew how much fun the kids had, he said.
“They couldn't get enough of it,” he said.
The students understood that it was more than just play time, though. It was about learning and helping the environment.
“It helps the earth,” said Kristina Cord, 7. “Trees can always be nice and pretty.”
There are many ways to help the environment, planting a tree is just one of them, Kristina said.
Cecilia Sabo, 6, said helping save the earth should start outside. Her sister, Samantha, 2, got a bucket and seeds for Easter, because she likes to plant.
“Trees help us with everything, so we should start planting more trees,” Cecilia said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Richter: See what all the Hoopla is over new streaming program
- Police chief settlement, legal fees to cost Brentwood more than $400K
- Talks continue for new Brentwood EMS contract
- Baldwin-Whitehall school board president sets new rules
- Final Brentwood budget approved
- Grant will help pay for school resource officer at Pleasant Hills schools
- Officials pressed for decision on Brentwood borough building
- Pleasant Hills council OKs tax hike, fee changes