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Leonard students plant a tree



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Leonard student Josh Schoenherr (right) helps Leonard Village President Mike McDonald plant a tree at the Polly Ann Trailhead. Photo by Andrew Moser. (click for larger version)
November 09, 2011 - Leonard Elementary fourth and fifth graders took time away from their books last Tuesday to do the environment a little bit of good.

On Nov. 1, students walked over to the Polly Ann Trailhead in Leonard and helped Leonard Village Manager Mike McDonald plant a Flowering Dogwood tree as part of the 2011 Go Green Youth Challenge.

The tree planting was made possible thanks to a $250 grant the Village of Leonard and Leonard Elementary received from the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance.

A total of four trees were planted with the grant money - two Flowering Dogwoods and two Red Maples.

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The two Red Maples and one of the Flowering Dogwoods were planted on Monday, Oct. 31.

McDonald shared with students a speech Nana Annan, the wife of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, gave in front of the United Nations on April 22, 2000 (Earth Day).

"By being here today and promising to plant more trees, you are sending a message to everyone that the planet earth needs help, and that you are willing to help," McDonald quoted.

During her speech, she challenged children around the world to help protect the earth by planting trees.

"Our actions, every one of them, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem today, will greatly help our environment," McDonald quoted. "More importantly, this will decide how healthy or liveable in the years to come. So lets plant some more trees and lets do the right thing."

During her speech, she noted one square mile of rainforest was cleared every six minutes.

"So that is like saying the Village here is one square mile in size, and down in Africa and South America, the rainforests are being burned down and converted into human use, so lots of trees are dying in the process," McDonald said.

McDonald noted from Annan's speech the many benefits of having trees.

"It helps protect the climate, protects the soil from erosion and helps control the floods," McDonald quoted. "When trees are cut down, rain easily washes away valuable top soil. It is in the topsoil where our food is grown, and when it washes away, the earth becomes unusable for the environment. Trees also soak up harmful carbon dioxide and give us oxygen so we can breathe."

McDonald challenged students to continue their participation by collecting donations next spring to be used for purchasing other trees.

While they were planting, McDonald held a question and answer session with students before selecting students to water the newly planted trees.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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