The fourth grade Foresters USA contacted me through my role in the Whitingham-Halifax Lions Club. Their business was created to provide a simple and inexpensive way for fourth-graders to receive a tree on Arbor Day. They explained that each tree is packaged with care by workers who have disabilities. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to help reduce global warming and to help clean the air we breathe. Planting trees, they explained, is a great and easy way to address the problem. They’d take care of the trees and the packaging, but needed sponsors to cover the shipping costs. Their goal is to provide a tree to every fourth-grader in the United States on Arbor Day.
Once I got my fellow Lions on board, I was eager to take this project a step further and asked as many schools as possible in one afternoon, with a fast approaching deadline. Surprisingly, out of the 14 schools I contacted, all eagerly said yes!
Our project quickly grew from 35 trees to 260 in a matter of one hour!
I knew the cost of shipping would be too much to ask of just our club, so now I was on a mission for extra sponsors. I asked the Readsboro Lions and the Deerfield Valley Rotary if they’d each cover a couple of schools in our surrounding areas and they jumped right on board. After a quick chat with Noreen at Southview Farms in Guilford, she happily sponsored Guilford. I spoke with Meagen Kerris, the business development manager at Summit Chrysler in Brattleboro and she personally sponsored Dummerston.
About thirty minutes later, I got a call back from Meagen and she said Summit Chrysler loves the project and its mission and wants to cover any remaining schools! It was such a nice feeling seeing folks so willingly and excitedly sponsor our local schools!
Arbor Day will be celebrated on May 2 this year and more than 260 fourth-graders in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Wilmington, Whitingham, Halifax, Dover, Wardsboro, Readsboro, and Stamford will roll up their sleeves and plant a tree!
The kids will become members of Fourth-Grade Foresters. The project’s mission is to help revitalize a remarkable idea--observation of Arbor Day in America’s schools. Fourth-graders at Dummerston, Guilford, Academy, Oak Grove, Green Street, Twin Valley, Halifax, Dover, Wardsboro, Readsboro, Stamford, Neighborhood Schoolhouse, St. Michael’s Academy, and Hilltop Montessori School will all receive a 12-18-inch evergreen tree to take home and plant.
“This project is made possible because community businesses like Summit Chrysler, Southview Farm, the Whitingham-Halifax Lions Club, the Readsboro Lions Club, the Deerfield Valley Rotary Club, and even a caring business development manager, Meagen Kerris from Summit Chrysler, all covered the cost of the individually packaged evergreen trees, so that there is no cost to the students, the teachers, the school, or the taxpayer,
Debra Ersch, cofounder of the Fourth-Grade Foresters Project, stated. “It’s a wonderful way to show support for the community, education, and the environment.”