2014-06-26 / Nature

Students Plant a Sweet Gum at Pell

By Jack Kelly


Fourth grader Maya Daly shovels dirt onto the root ball of the aweet gum tree. Fourth grader Maya Daly shovels dirt onto the root ball of the aweet gum tree. The recent planting of a Sweet gum tree at Newport’s Claiborne Pell Elementary School marked the beginning of a planned arboretum for the facility. The school has been the recipient of three grants totaling $6,000 from National Grid, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and the Aquidneck Land Trust that will be used to establish the arboretum.

The planting ceremony was attended by all third- and fourthgrade students, and 12 pupils were chosen to actually assist in the planting.

Lillian Dick, president of the Newport Tree Society, praised the effort. “These trees will offer shade and present a wonderful place to read and study. We are looking forward to planting many more trees in this special area. We want to thank everyone who helped to make this possible for the students of this beautiful school.” Dick had the children in attendance close their eyes and take a deep breath. “The air that you are breathing is cleaned by the trees, and they are very important to us because of that.”


Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Newport Tree Warden Scott Wheeler commented, “Newport is known worldwide as a Class One Arboretum because of the many diverse trees that grace the city. This school will become part of that history in the future with the plantings that will be established here.” Wheeler assisted the young planters in placing dirt around the root ball of the tree. This active involvement allowed for a better understanding of the importance of trees and the environment.

Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop praised the efforts of all of the organizations involved. “This is a great partnership between the city, School Committee, private organizations, and the state that will benefit the children of this school.”

All of the Pell students participated in a Name the Tree Contest, and the winner will have his or her name placed on a tree identification plate when the sweet gum is more mature.

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