There’s a new baby to care for on South Avondale School’s campus.
It’s a baby red oak tree – with a trunk skinny as a pencil and about two dozen small leaves clinging to its three branches.
Give it time, water and sunshine, and it will grow to a magnificent 60 feet tall and give shade and four-season beauty to the campus and neighborhood.
South Avondale’s second-graders helped plant the little tree on Friday, November 1, in a patch of grass near the preschool playground. The tree’s new home was marked by a colorful circle of student-made paper pinwheels.
This tree and more than 150 others were donated by Cincinnati Urban Forestry and the ReLeaf program.
November 1 was an unofficial Arbor Day at Cincinnati Public Schools, with one or two donated trees planted at every CPS building.
Dr. Jennifer Williams, curriculum manager for science, health and physical education for Cincinnati Public Schools, said tree plantings at schools give students opportunities to understand the role trees play in our ecosystem as well as providing gathering spaces and sparking creative inspiration.
She asked the South Avondale students, “Why are trees important?”
“They give us air,” the students shouted back.
“What part of air do they give us?”
Matt Dickman, an urban forester with Cincinnati Parks, told the youngsters that it will take about three years for the little tree to get its roots set and begin to show growth.
“Baby trees need a year to sleep, a year to creep and a year to leap,” Dickman said, as he worked his hands through the dirt around the tree’s trunk. “You make a ring around it with the dirt so it catches the rain, and the rain goes right down to the baby roots.”
South Avondale School’s Principal Mike Allison finished up the tree-planting with a reminder that, “This is our school, and we have to take care of our school.”