Learning to Love Trees
For the seventh consecutive year, Dominion's Project Plant It! continues to blossom with new ways to engage elementary students in learning about trees and the environment. Along the way, the program has earned the prestigious Public Awareness of Trees award from the Arbor Day Foundation and also received an award from the Virginia Association of Science Teachers.
In January, teachers in participating school systems received a kit with lesson plans, posters, stickers and other instructional tools. All of the teaching materials align with state learning standards for math, science, language arts and social studies.
A new lesson plan for the 2013 program, strongly supported by a Fredericksburg-area educator, helps students understand about the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources, as well as encouraging them to explore the many uses of energy in their lives.
Dr. Jean Young, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Spotsylvania County Schools, reviewed the new lesson plan and endorsed it enthusiastically. "The activities are student-centered and relate well to the Standards of Learning about energy," she says. "I look forward to sharing this lesson plan with our teachers when it's time to start studying Project Plant It!"
The cornerstone of the program is the distribution of a redbud tree seedling to each participating student on Arbor Day, which falls on Friday, April 26, 2013. "This beautiful tree species is native to Virginia, and children will enjoy caring for it and watching it grow," says Paulin Cheatham, spokesman for Dominion's Project Plant It!
Since 2007, Project Plant It! has distributed more than 160,000 tree seedlings to students in seven states. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, this equates to 400 acres of new forest if all of the tree seedlings are planted and grow to maturity.
The website, www.projectplantit.com, features videos and interactive games about trees. Project Plant It! is provided by Dominion at no cost to schools. For more information, visit the website. Also, be sure to "Like" Project Plant It! on Facebook to see stories and photos of students who are making a difference for the environment.
"Each year, we closely evaluate all programs that are offered to our students and Project Plant It! continues to provide high quality instructional materials," concluded Dr. Young. "The lesson plans emphasize 21st century skills such as communicating and collaborating in teams, while building a more global awareness about our environment."