Local Horticultural Company Celebrated Arbor Day with Chapel Street School Students

STRATFORD, CT - April 27, 2009 - Northeast Horticultural Services of Stratford honored Arbor Day, April 24, 2009 by planting a cherry tree to help beautify the school’s courtyard with a group of students from Chapel Street School at 380 Chapel Street in Stratford.

Stacey Marcell, owner of Northeast Horticultural Services, began the celebration with a presentation to a group of 60 first, fourth and sixth grade students about Arbor Day and the important role trees play in our environment.

"Every aspect of planting a tree is good for the environment," says Stacey Marcell.

Stacey used simple logic to make it easy and fun for the kids to measure different parts of the tree and the area where it would be planted. For example, to estimate the height of a tree, Stacey stood next to a tree and said, "I am five and a half feet tall. How tall do you think this tree is?" It turned into a competition of who could guess the closest. They finally determined that the tree was 13 feet and approximately 350 pounds.

As part of the presentation, Stacey worked with the students to prepare the designated area by removing debris and digging the hole. Once the tree was in the ground the children took part by adding water, fertilizer, peat moss and soil to finish the planting. After the area was filled in they created a wall of dirt around the tree to hold the water, so when it was watered it would go straight down to the roots.

Her hands-on approach to teaching empowers children and gives them an appreciation for what it takes to care for plants and trees. The children were very excited to get involved and help Stacey and two members of her crew.

"As these kids move through the grades at Chapel Street School, they will look in the courtyard and remember how they helped make it look beautiful," says Stacey Marcell. "I am excited to be a part of this experience with them." Depending on the amount of rainfall, the tree should grow anywhere from 6 inches to 1 foot each year. The children will be able to track its growth by measuring the internodes or the spaces between the nodes, which hold the buds and grow into one or more leaves.

Stacey plans to continue her support of the Chapel Street School courtyard, by maintaining the cherry tree and surrounding area each year on Arbor Day. "Pruning is very important for trees to stay healthy," says Stacey Marcell. "By beautifying the courtyard the students will be able to take advantage of this great outdoor space."

Chapel Street School is one of 12 schools in the Stratford School District. It is a public school that serves over 500 students in grades K-6. The school renovation was completed in 2000 and they have a large courtyard they would like to utilize as part of their teaching program. With help from Stacey Marcell and Northeast Horticultural Services and possible state grants, the school hopes to continue renovations of the courtyard to bring out its beauty and provide teachers use of the area for outdoor classes, special projects and a reading area for children.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance, established in 1872, that encourages tree planting and care. It is celebrated every year by states and cities at different parts of the year according to the region's best tree-planting times.