One of four tiles from artist Paula Gill which were dedicated Wednesday for Arbor Day at Blueberry Park in Bremerton. Each tile which are on the shelter represents a different season at the park. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)
Elementary schoolers get their hands dirty on Arbor Day
By Kaitlyn Jakola email@example.com 360-792-9239
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
EAST BREMERTON — About 40 first- and second-graders from Armin Jahr Elementary School helped plant three western red cedar trees at Blueberry Park on Sylvan Way on Wednesday morning as part of Bremerton’s Arbor Day celebration.
Mayor Patty Lent spoke to the students about the importance of Arbor Day before Parks and Recreation workers led them to the trees and handed out miniature shovels. Arbor Day is April 27, but in Washington it is observed on the second Wednesday of April.
“This teaches the children about gardening, teaches them about what trees provide, from oxygen to shade to soil erosion,” Lent said. “It’s an exciting out-of-the-classroom lesson.”
The event also was a chance to recognize Bremerton’s 16th year as a Tree City USA. Managed by the Arbor Day Foundation, the national Tree City USA program recognizes more than 3,400 communities, including Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and 77 others in Washington, for their dedication to forestry and tree planting programs.
Parks and Recreation Director Wyn Birkenthal said the designation qualifies Bremerton for several grants, which his department has used to overhaul many of the city’s parks. Blueberry Park was redesigned using these grants in 2008, taking it from an overgrown meadow to a 7-acre park with a green-roof picnic area, playground and more than 60 community garden plots.
“It shows that you care about the urban forests and that you plant trees and replenish your tree stock, and you take care of what you have,” Birkenthal said. “We make sure every year that we meet the requirements.”