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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tree planting with high school students









Jake was the first to show up
for our tree planting.

He was 10 minutes early and came bearing
Jack's donuts
and a case of bottled water.

It didn't matter to him that dark clouds were looming
and the weather report predicted storms.
He was on a mission.
He was out to plant trees.



We aren't here to plant a park - I explained as the rest of the high schoolers arrived.
None of this "trees ten feet apart so the mowers can mow between them".

We are here to plant a forest.

Look at a natural forest.
Trees of different kinds, growing together...
branches intertwine like lovers.







The trees shade the ground,
filling it with leaf litter
where
delicate spring wildflowers
can survive.


Let's make it happen.





So we charged down the slope
to the edge
of the prairie
to plant
our trees.



Not everyone came
prepared...




Jueun,
our exchange student from Korea,
wasn't wearing our typical
American style
tree-planting
gear.

But hey!

She hung in there
with the shovel
and
dug her share!




Gloves?
No one brought them.

But those manicured hands
crumbled the soil
as they settled
the tiny roots
into
the ground.




Luisa enjoyed helping plant los arboles
 - since she's here
from Spain we had
an international flavor
to this central Indiana
tree planting.


What a nice introduction
to our country.

:)



And we had family togetherness,
as Jake's sister,
Katie,
joined us.

She did ask to borrow my gloves
since she had prom
that coming
evening.




Molly and Megan
became experts in planting the trees -

settling in the roots
at just the right level
so the little trees
could
thrive.





The boys, Jake and Spencer, proposed they would dig all of the holes - a manly job...









...while the girls would do the actual planting.


As you might expect,
this engendered
a lively discussion
of
gender
roles.









But Mrs Bertrum was in there
with her pole digger.

And Nan Polk,
jumped in to help dig...

... as well as
soaping the seedlings
to dissuade the deer
from making
them
lunch.





In fact, the air was full of the songs of the nearby nesting swallows and the laughter of the kids - talk of the latest movies, music and prom accompanied the sound of the shovels on dirt...

...occasionally interrupted by a squeal when a new fat worm was uncovered.

The weather was good to us.
Nice overcast protected the tree roots and rosy cheeks.

We had one moment of light rain - hardly enough to pause for our jackets.




As we finished up,
Megan flagged the small trees
as protection
from the dreaded
Man on a Mower
and
Molly gave them a fresh drink.

Add mulch...

And a final count -
47 new trees in the ground.

Trees that over the years will grow taller than their planters.

Trees that will create a new forest with shelter for birds and wildlife...

Shade for a weary traveller....

...and beauty beyond our lifetimes.




We gathered
for one last
group photo.




And then returned
to the
 rest of our lives.



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