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Importance of trees stressed during Arbor Day events at elementary schools

pMASSENA — The effort to beautify elementary schools while stressing the importance of trees to students continues in Massena, thanks to a partnership among Alcoa, the New York Power Authority and Curran Renewable Energy, along with the village of Massena’s Arbor Committee./ppRepresentatives from the organizations make visits to the schools, where they plant trees and perform landscaping, distribute trees to students and emphasize the importance of the trees in the beautification and energy conservation efforts./pp“The program brings together different initiatives,” Massena Central School Superintendent Patrick Brady said./pp“For Alcoa, it is the Alcoa Foundation and American Forest ReLeaf grant program that supports the goal to plant 10 million trees by 2020 and enhance biodiversity. For NYPA, it is the Tree Power program that focuses on energy efficiency. For Curran Renewable, it is just being a good corporate citizen. In any case, the students have their schools beautified, they learn about the importance of trees in cleaning the air, helping with drainage and providing an urban forest for birds,” he said./pp“Projects like these are not only fun to do, they are educational, support our community and help combat climate change,” said Mike Bresett, health and safety superintendent at Alcoa and a member of the village Arbor Committee./ppMassena Electric Department Superintendent Andrew McMahon, a member of the village Arbor Committee, said the programs are geared to different levels, with a different focus at each school./pp“We found early on that having individual teachers who really bought in to what we are doing was the key,” he said./ppAt Nightengale Elementary School, for instance, students in Catherine Todd’s pre-kindergarten class sang a song to celebrate Arbor Day./pp“At Madison, it was poems about trees written by fifth-graders and a play at Jefferson school on energy efficiency. Multiple age groups at Holy Name of Jesus and second-graders at Trinity Catholic both used written words and art to celebrate,” Mr. McMahon said./ppHe said they’ve built a network of teachers over the past seven or eight years who assist with the events at their school./pp“Molly Griffin at Madison is one example. It is so clear her students have captured her excitement in the work they do. I think we have worked with Molly from the start and we feel really good about what she conveys to the kids about the importance of Arbor Day and trees in general,” he said./pp“This is such a good program. We teach kids the importance of trees, we beautify our community and we conserve energy. What is not to like?” said Dale Raymo, a member of the village Arbor Committee./p


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