Students from Hamlet Middle School partnered with Monroe Avenue Elementary to plant trees in celebration of Arbor Day on Friday.
The Hamlet Tree Association maintains a tree nursery at Monroe Avenue, and students are responsible for planting and caring for trees.
“We are the only tree nursery at a school in the whole state,” said Sheila Sellers, president of the association.
Sellers said the group gets seedlings from the NC Forestry Service and students at Monroe Avenue care for them as they grow.
“Every year, the Forestry Service collects seeds from trees and plants in the county,” said Assistant County Ranger with the NC Forestry Service Matt Gordon. “We store them, and send them to the Goldsboro nursery, where they can be sorted and sold. Each tree planted today started as a tiny seed.”
Gordon explained the importance of trees to the students, “they prevent erosion, they make oxygen and they help purify water.”
Each year, the students who cared for the plants gets to take a tree home to plant in their own yard. The remaining trees are planted around the community.
This year, three extra river birch trees were planted in front of Hamlet Middle School.
“The parents and the kids just love it,” said Sellers.
The Principal of Hamlet Middle, Jim Butler, read a proclamation declaring the day Arbor Day at the school.
Winners of the fifth grade 2012 Arbor Day Poster Contest were announced, and prizes were distributed. Jazmine Mozoleny won first place, and $25; Lazarus Tillman won second place, and $15; and Adrian Silva won third place, and $10.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com