A national program recently charged Lewiston Elementary School fourth-graders to do their part to keep the environment clean.
The 140 pupils became official foresters through the Fourth Grade Foresters USA for Georgia's Arbor Day celebration.
"At third- and fourth-grade levels, children begin to understand that there is a value and an importance outside of themselves," said Debra Ersch, co-founder of the Fourth Grade Foresters project.
"It is just the right time of their development that they ... can begin talking about good for others and the good for future generations."
Ersch said about 140,000 trees have been distributed to pupils during the project's three years of operation.
The Earth Fare supermarket in Martinez supported the program by providing loblolly pine tree saplings for each fourth-grader at Lewiston, Stevens Creek and Warren Road elementary schools.
"It'll grow up along with you over the years," Melanie Smith, Earth Fare community coordinator, told the 140 Lewiston pupils Feb. 18. "It is supposed to be a fun thing for you to do to take care of our future."
Smith explained how planting trees promotes a healthy environment because they provide oxygen and help keep the air and water clean.
"Ooh, it's pretty," Tyler Hall, 11, said when she received her tree. She said she was looking forward to planting her tree.
"I have this neighborhood where there's no pine trees in anybody's front yard," Tyler said. "And I am going to plant it in my front yard."
The pupils asked questions about the tree's care and how it helps the environment.
Smith was hopeful that all the pupils were as excited as Tyler to roll up their sleeves and get their trees in the ground.
"Plant it," she said. "Water it when it is dry. Watch over it. If you do, you'll do one of the best things that any of us can do. You can truly be proud to call yourself a Fourth Grade Forester."
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