A group of Machray School students sowed seeds for a greener future through an initiative to plant 10,000 trees near Anola last week.
On Wed., Sept. 25, Grade 5 and 6 students from the school helped to plant white spruce seedlings on municipal land in the RM of Springfield. The event was part of the Planting for the Future project, launched by Qualico in 2007, to plant 100,000 trees across the province over a 10-year period.
Machray School principal Gordon Armstrong said the event was a success with the 48 students who participated.
"The kids were quite excited when they came back," Armstrong said.
"They were following up in the classroom with what they learned that they didn’t know before the field trip in regards to trees and planting and things happening in the wilderness."
For Grade 5/6 teacher Amandeep Dhalla, the field trip was an interesting way to incorporate a hands-on experience into classroom curriculum.
"We talked about the things they learned about trees, like how to find the age and how to distinguish different plants. They were given books to look at about trees of Manitoba. They learned about different types of cones. I have all of the samples in my room, so they can distinguish those," Dhalla said.
"Now they’re writing letters to Qualico about what they learned and what they can do better for the next field trip."
It’s not the first time Machray students have dug deep to help with the planting project. In 2011, another group of students travelled to the RM of Reynolds to plant white spruce seedlings in a reclaimed gravel pit near the community of Ste. Rita.
"Last time, they did the planting on a stony area. This year, the ground was perfect for it," Dhalla said.
"The kids were on the go. They loved it. They want to go again, they told me. They want to go every year."
The fact that the project coincided with National Tree Day also sprouted excitement among the students.
"It was a beautiful day. They planted 500 seeds in over one hour," Dhalla said.
"After that, we went to the picnic area. They had lunch and we played some games. It was perfect. The kids enjoyed it and they learned a lot."
Jordan Farber, banking manager for Qualico, said the project stemmed from the company’s environmental stewardship program. When the real estate firm decided to involve kids in Planting for the Future, the Winnipeg School Division connected them with Machray School.
"We’ve developed a great relationship with those guys, and we’ve maintained that relationship," he said. "We help out at barbecues and Thanksgiving dinners with Machray."
Since the initiative began, Qualico has partnered with the Manitoba Forestry Association to plant seeds across the province. Past locations include the RM of Piney and FortWhyte Alive. Last year, students from David Livingstone School planted 500 white spruce seedlings near the transfer station in the RM of Springfield.
"It’s so much fun," Farber said. "It’s really developed into a great project."