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Six area schools now have five new trees each in their yards thanks to an ambitious planting project by REAL. 

This particular project was one of the handful conceived for our 30th anniversary year in 2019.   Our goal was to plant 30 substantial sized trees somewhere in the area, but various factors kept that from happening.  We decided 2023 was the year!  Peter Au and Donna McKenna got the ball rolling.   Last fall board members wrote to local schools to see if they were interested in working with us on this, and for most of them it was a resounding yes!  REAL enlisted the help of Beth Sinclair, who has a keen interest in planting and connections with the Chimo and SFDCI  school councils.   Other schools expressing interest were Montague, Lombardy, D.J. Schoular and St. Francis  The budget for this project was from funds donated by the late Tom Foulkes. 

Schools made their own tree selections from a list of native trees available from Green Acres’ suppliers.  A wide variety of trees were chosen:  butternut, white pine, white spruce,  oak (white, red or bur) , hickory, sycamore, maple (sugar, silver or Norway), basswood and white birch, most in the 5 – 8” range in 10 or 15 gallon pots. 

Before we knew it, the first planting day took place May 31 at Duncan J. Schoular, and was quickly followed by Chimo (June 2), Lombardy (June 8 ), Montague (June 13), SFDCI (June 16) and then St. Francis on June 20.   The trees were delivered to each school in advance of the planting. 

Craig Sinclair generously made himself available on each of the days to lead the planting.  There is much to know about tree planting to maximize the trees chances of survival, and Craig patiently explained the process to everyone.   At each school a group of students were excited to participate in the planting.  Usually a principal, teacher or school council representative were on site as well.  Donna McKenna or Barb Hicks attended each planting on behalf of REAL and brought along the stakes and bagged mulch for the base of the trees.

While the trees are now the responsibility of the schools, we realized watering would be difficult over the summer, so Craig will be ensuring the new trees are adequately watered.  This will be a challenge as many schools do not have outside taps, and three are scattered across the school yards.  The stakes will be removed after the first year and saved by REAL, maybe for another tree planting! 

Special thanks to Beth and Craig Sinclair for their enthusiastic involvement in this project.  We couldn’t have done it without them!  We are also grateful for the flexibility and special consideration given by Ryan Vander Meer of Green Acres.  Board member Donna McKenna spent many volunteer hours preparing for this project, sourcing materials and attending the plantings, and made sure this special anniversary project came to fruition, and that shady trees will be in our local schoolyards in the future.   

More details in our July newsletter.  

Duncan J. Schoular – May 31, 2023:

Montague – June 13, 2023:

Lombardy – June 8, 2023:

Chimo – June 2, 2023:

St. Francis – June 20, 2023