Krueger Middle School hosted an Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, April 27th -- planting 39 mature trees along the west and south drive to the school. Students also began work on a tree nursery behind the building, where they will be planting 2,000 seedlings.
The tree-planting was made possible thanks to the Office of Senator Dick Lugar, Save the Dunes, and the City of Michigan City in partnership with the Vallonia State Tree Nursery.
The Arbor Day project is directly tied to the environmental studies focus at Krueger. The school has also established a two-mile, student-created trail on its grounds, featuring 10 environmental learning stations on topics such as soil and water testing, bird and butterfly habitats, and wetland preservation. (The trail will be open for elementary school and public tours in late May.)
Student tree-planters and community guests enjoyed refreshments at an opening ceremony for the Arbor Day event. Krueger Principal Martha Birkholz welcomed guests, and MCAS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins congratulated the school on its Conservation School of the Year Award and its many other accomplishments in the area of environmental science this year. Mayor Ron Meer (who attended Krueger for 7th and 8th grade!) read a proclamation declaring April 27 Arbor Day in Michigan City and emphasizing the importance of tree planting in our city. Erin Crofton, education director with the Save the Dunes organization, encouraged students to "get their hands dirty today" -- and gave each volunteer a button that read "Arbor Day 2012 - I planted a tree today!"
Celina Weatherwax, representing Senator Lugar's Northwest Indiana Office, reminded students that by planting trees, "you are part of a bigger picture." Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872... and ever since, trees have been planted across the U. S. to mark the occasion. This is the fourth year that Senator Lugar's office has assisted with the Arbor Day effort in Laporte and Porter Counties; previous plantings have been done at the Porter County Visitors Center and at Patriot Park.
According to Frank Seilheimer, Urban Forester for Michigan City, the 39 mature trees planted at the event include red maple, red oak, sugar maple, and honey locust. These trees were provided by the City, through funding received as compensation when trees were removed in 2006 along the South Shore route on West 10th and 11th Streets. The seedlings, provided through Senator Lugar's office and the Vallonia Nursery, included black cherry, red oak, red maple, black locust, black oak, and tulip trees (Indiana's state tree).
Many thanks to all of the community partners, teachers, staff, and students who made this Arbor Day a very special celebration at Krueger!
Partners in the Arbor Day Project (L-R): Celina Weatherwax (Sen. Lugar's Office), Erin Crofton (Save the Dunes), Krueger Principal Martha Birkholz, Mayor Ron Meer, Krueger Asst. Principal Vera Jones, MCAS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, and Urban Forester Frank Seilheimer.
Students planted, filled, moved sod, mulched...and made a difference!
Mrs. Jones poses with the 2,000 seedlings....
It was just another day for Smokey and Bandit, the resident goats at Krueger (shown here with special visitor, News Dispatch reporter Deb Sederberg)