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Dominion doles out trees to local schools as community initiative

Thursday, May. 29 | By Hannah Dellinger
At Grace Miller Elementary School in Bealeton an American Fringe tree is planted with second graders as a part of Dominion Power’s Project Plant It.
Photo by Adam Goings
Grace Miller Elementary school recently received a fringetree as a gift from Dominion Power as a part of their community relations initiative, Project Plant It.

Second graders gathered in front of the school to learn about the tree and to help plant it with representatives from Dominion. Once the sapling was in the ground, the students lined up to help fill in the soil with child-sized shovels.

Project Plant It has given 33,000 trees this school year to other elementary schools spanning Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.

“We want to try to engage young people-elementary school students as well as the community at large, in the importance of trees and the value that trees bring to our environment,” said Chuck Penn, the community relations manager of Dominion. “We teach the kids about the aesthetic value, the beauty of the trees, the role the trees play in keeping our environment clean and buffering our noise.”

Grace Miller principal Judy Williams said that accepting the gift was a great opportunity for the school.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to beautify our campus and of course we’re always happy to have more trees around,” said Williams. “It gives a wonderful opportunity for children to see how trees are planted and where they come from.”

Renetta Reed, a second grade teacher at Grace Miller, said that the tree planting ceremony was a great hands-on learning experience for her students.

“In second grade we learn about living systems and how living things are all dependent upon each other,” she said. “So, they’re learning about natural resources and how they help the environment. It goes perfectly with our curriculum.”

Ethan Deneal, a second grader at Grace Miller, was very excited to help plant the tree. He said that he has helped his parents plant some trees and flowers before and that his class just learned about how animals use trees as a part of their habitat.

“We just learned that butterflies live in chrysalises and they hang them on trees,” he said.

Deneal and his classmates will be able to watch the tree grow over the years. Once they have moved up through the school system, the tree will remain right in front of the school.

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