HAMLET — Tree lovers from throughout the county may claim — for free — dogwoods to elm trees planted and tended to by Hamlet’s youngest arborists.
The Hamlet Tree and Beautification Group, working with third- to fifth-grade “conservation rangers” at Monroe Avenue Elementary School, will offer several types of trees from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 25. The sale will take place at Monroe Avenue’s tree nursery, behind the school on Washington Street. Sale rain date is Oct. 30.
Beautification Group member Sheila Sellers said Friday that the trees, planted in January of last year, stand about 5 feet tall. They include apple, elm, flowering crab apple, forest pansy redbud, ginko, pink dogwood and river birch.
The Beautification Group has worked with Monroe Avenue students since the early 2000s, Sellers said. The children wear special aprons identifying them as “conservation rangers” while tending to the trees. They pot, fertilize and, sometimes, plant the trees in public places.
This April, fourth-graders planted magnolias at the Hamlet Public Library during an Arbor Day event. In years past, they have planted trees at the Hamlet Senior Center and other sites.
Monroe Avenue principal Dawn Terry said the group also gave a tree to each fifth-grader moving up to middle school.
“They’re very good” with the students, Terry said of beautification volunteers. “A couple times a year, they will work with different grade levels.” Third-graders pot. Fourth-graders plant. And fifth-graders make posters to win ribbons and cash.
The collaboration between the nonprofit group and the schoolchildren is intended to teach the youngsters “about being environmentalists and realizing how important trees are to the environment,” Sellers said.
N.C. Forest Service statistics show that trees cover 80 percent of Richmond County.