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Trees celebrated by KCS with planting, art and singing

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KENT – A third tree has been planted in the community thanks to a partnership between Kent Center School and the Kent Conservation Commission. The newest tree is next to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department firehouse on Maple Street.

Kent Center School observed Arbor Day April 26 with a community tree planting next to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department firehouse attended by all the students and faculty, who walked to the location. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

The entire student body and faculty from KCS walked to the firehouse April 26 to start the Arbor Day celebration. Science teacher Chris Rose started the planting process with several of his students the day before, with guidance from Tree Warden Bruce Bennett and KCC advisor Jos Spelbos. Children representing kindergarten through eighth grade had the opportunity to put a shovelful of dirt on the roots of the Tulip tree.

KCS student Ricky Patterson was one of the students who scooped a shovelful of dirt on the new Tulip tree that was planted next to the KVFD firehouse. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Art teacher Ellen Tarabara welcomed all to the ceremony. “Arbor Day is remembering to take care of our trees for us and future generations to enjoy. This is the third year we are planting a tree in the community instead of at KCS. We are excited share our tree planting with the town,” Tarabara said.

She noted there were many people to thank for their assistance, saluting Bennett for selecting the location and providing a list of six appropriate trees to Rose, so that he could select the best one. KVFD was thanked for hosting the tree and agreeing to water and take care of it. She also recognized Bill Gawel for his help with equipment and members of the town crew who helped unload the tree. She thanked Spelbos and Rose for their efforts and students, Ben Baird, Trey Roberti and Evan Hernandez.  KCC paid for the tree and helped sponsor the event.

The tree planted is six years old.

“We gather each year to welcome a new pulpy member of our community,” said Rose to those assembled around the tree. He explained that the tulip tree is the longest living tree that has recently been planted by KCS, and it is expected to live from 200 to 300 years. It will have large yellow blossoms that look like tulip flowers from the ground, and contain a great deal of pollen that will help bees and butterflies, Rose said.

Fifth graders Anson Zhang and Aloise Roberti talk about the history of Arbor Day in the United States and Kent’s connection to Birdsey Grant Northrop, who was born in town and his work resulted in the national observance of Arbor Day in all schools. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Following the planting, everyone returned to KCS and there was an indoor ceremony in the gym. Tarabara led this portion of the program, noting Kent’s special connections to Arbor Day are celebrated through history, art, recycling and music.

Librarian Betsy Morrow guided fifth grade students through the history segment that featured Birdsey Grant Northrop. Each student shared what they’d learned about Arbor Day and Northrop. He helped pass a law in Connecticut that Arbor Day must be celebrated in schools.

Later Ane Starr recognized the students who won awards for their recycling billboards and first place winners were presented with $25 gift cards to the House of Books by First Selectman Marty Lindenmayer. Two students were also recognized for regional honors at the Housatonic Resource Recovery Authority.

Each of the groups of eighth graders unveiled their murals that featured trees and nature on the walls of the gym.

Finally, music teacher David Poirier led the entire school in singing, “The Rattlin’ Bog” song, which is sung each year. Older students kept a beat by pounding on the floor, particularly through the chorus:
“Ho ro the rattlin’ bog

The bog down in the valley-o

Ho ro the rattlin’ bog

The bog down in the valley-o.”

Art teacher Ellen Tarabara, far right, introduces each of the murals created by groups of eighth graders on display in the Kent Center School gym during the April 26 Arbor Day ceremony. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington
Lynn Worthington
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