STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton’s Arbor Day roots date back to 1889. It was the city’s first major tree planting in Gypsy Hill Park. It’s a legacy that continues still today with a message they are trying to pass on to future generations.
Staunton City Schools and Shenandoah Green together hosted a tree-planting ceremony at Dixon Educational Center Friday.
The Heifetz International Music Institute gave a special performance, Reverend Edward Scott shared a word, and Staunton Schools Superintendent Garett Smith read a story, but the stars of the day’s festivities were Staunton’s youngest learners - its preschoolers.
The three and four-year-olds wearing tree hats held on to their tops and survived the wind to help plant a tree.
“This is a swamp white oak,” said Georgi Tomisato with Shenandoah Green. “We wanted to plant it someplace where people could really enjoy it.”
It’s a special tree, marking a milestone for Shenandoah Green’s Staunton Legacy Tree Project.
“This is the 2,000th and our goal was 2,746 trees,” stated Tomisato.
That’s one tree for every student in Staunton City Schools. They’re planting trees all over town - at schools, parks, even people’s homes like School Board Chair Ken Venable.
“I was fortunate to have five of them planted at my house last week,” said Venable.
Tomisato, who was dressed as a “tree” musketeer, says it’s really about the kids.
“What you’re doing is you’re giving to the generations that are coming up,” said Tomisato.
“And for them to be able to see and to be a part of it, it makes them so excited,” Venable stated. “Kids will be able to come back later and see the progress of trees.”
Shenandoah Green is in the home stretch of reaching their goal, but trees are not cheap. If you’d like to support them on their way to 2,746 you can donate at https://www.shenandoahgreen.org/staunton-tree-legacy-project.