Fourth-grade foresters program to be held today

PARKERSBURG -Fourth-graders in all elementary schools in Parkersburg today will receive a tree to take home and plant as part of the annual Arbor Day celebration organized by the Parkersburg Tree Commission.

The goal of this project is to revitalize the observance of Arbor Day in schools and is sponsored by the commission.

“This project is made possible because community organizations, like the tree and bicentennial commissions, covered the cost of each of the individually packaged evergreen trees, so that there is no cost to the students, the teachers or the school,” Debra Ersch, a founder of the Fourth Grade Foresters Project, said. “It’s a wonderful way to show support for the community, education and the environment.”

Each fourth-grader will receive an individually packaged evergreen seedling from 12- to 18-inches high, sealed in a plastic bag by workers with disabilities. Each package will include information about Arbor Day in Parkersburg, planting and care instructions, and the name of its sponsor.

The trees are packaged in workshops that employ adults with disabilities through the Free Trees and Plants project. Started in February 2004, the project obtains from growers and nurseries some of the millions of unsold plants that otherwise are destroyed each year, hires workers with disabilities to package them and then sends the plants to anyone who orders them at freetreesandplants.com.

Consumers pay for processing and shipping costs.

Additional information related to local community garden programs will be provided.

Arbor Day will be celebrated in Parkersburg, which flies the Tree City USA banner from the National Arbor Day Foundation, on April 25 when the results of the tree commission’s annual Big Tree contest will be announced. Deadline for submissions is today.

Nomination forms are available at tinyurl.com/Big-Tree-14. The forms can be submitted by mail to the Parkersburg Tree Commission, 1 Government Square, Parkersburg, WV 26102 or emailed to jwhitmore@parkersburg-wv.com.

Residents and landowners in Parkersburg are eligible. Previous winners are not eligible.