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Booklets help students learn about trees

By Staff | Oct 12, 2011

Standing with Nella Storm are three students in Christina Geiger's 5th grade class who completed their leaf booklets. L to R: Josephine Benamati, Devin Smith, Alexis Baranoski

MUNCY – Once again the fifth grade students at Myers Elementary School in Muncy have learned how to identify the trees that surround their immediate environment. A visit from Shade Tree Commission member, Nella Storm, in the classroom last week helped them to grasp a better understanding on how to plant trees and what their benefits are after using the booklets provided to them from Representative Everett’s office.

Storm, who is a retired teacher from Myers, explained how to measure a tree and answered several questions from the students who have been working on making their own tree booklets for the past three weeks. They asked her about blight and pests and damaging elements to the trees.

The Muncy Shade Tree Commission has planted lots of trees that are resistant to diseases, Storm told them. “Muncy has many Sugar Maples, but these are not good to plant alongside the road because they don’t like the rock salt in the winter, and they have a large root structure that pushes up the sidewalks,” Storm said who expressed how important it is to plant the right tree at the right location.

Much discussion was also given on planting trees so they have lots of room to spread out in order not to touch the wires. “Smaller, flowering trees that are hearty are better,” advised Storm. Certain trees also don’t do well in flooding whereas some like the sycamore and swamp oak love the water. The London Plane tree is very disease resistant Storm told the class.

When asked about weeping willows, another water loving tree, Storm related how the tree originally came from China in the 1820’s aboard the “Clipper” ships. “It is best to plant trees along the road or your house that will lose leaves in the winter, so that the sunshine will come in and give light and some heat,” Storm said.

She also added that tree revitalization grants help to pay for the trees that are planted in Muncy. “These trees are planted for free and not planted by using tax payers’ money. We like to plant Japanese silk and Lilac trees,” she said. The average cost to replace a tree is about $250. “Through the bare root program, we pay about $80 a tree, and they are raised in Erie.” A $6,000 donation came from Muncy Bank & Trust and other funds come from matching grants. Storm also pointed out that some of the trees that were planted around the school by other children generations ago still exist on the school’s grounds.

One student asked about dead trees and she told him that the street trees of Muncy can’t be cut down without permission. Its health is checked first to see if there is a fungus growing or if it is severely diseased or cracked. In all, Pennsylvania is home to 108 species of trees. “We have more trees than any other state can grow,” Storm told the students. And with the fall foliage, there are so many colors to see.

Prizes will be awarded for the best tree booklet and one grand prize for the one with the most leaves. “The trees of Muncy are the trees of your future,” concluded Storm.