May 10, 2019 6:22 pm

Edmonton Grade 1 students celebrate Arbor Day

Students participating in the ceremonial tree planting at Arbor Day in Whitemud Park.

Margeaux Maron, Global News

Around 600 Grade 1 students received a valuable lesson from Mother Nature at Friday’s Arbor Day celebration at Whitemud Park.

The event has been a tradition in the city since 1893, with students receiving evergreen seedlings to plant at home since the 1950s.

According to the city, about 15,000 children receive these seedlings each year.

READ MORE: Global Edmonton Weather School visits classrooms across the city

“Our urban forest is extremely valuable,” senior urban forester Bonnie Fermanuik said.

“It gives so much back to the people of Edmonton, and we want the young people to share that with their parents.”

Activities included tree climbing, pruning and chipping demonstrations, as well as a ceremonial tree planting. The fun was topped off with zip lining and bucket truck rides.

A few Edmontonians recalled planting their own trees in Grade 1, with some still living at the residences where they were planted.

“Trees that are 50-60 years old that were planted in the wrong spot, they phone and say, ‘I don’t want to cut it down but it’s too big, what can I do with it?'” Fermanuik said with a laugh.

If your child came home with a seedling of their own on Friday, Fermanuik also shared some advice.

“Give it lots of room, it’s going to get big. Allow for it to get big, don’t put it in your shrub bed beside the house,” she said.

“Plant the tree in the right spot, it can grow for 200 years.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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