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Townsend Lumber, students plant trees at Monsignor J.H. O’Neil for Earth Day

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Townsend Lumber donated seven trees to Monsignor J.H. O’Neil Catholic School for Earth Day, and a group of Grade 5 and 6 students planted them Friday morning.

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“We’re planting seven trees in total,” said Amy Devos.

Townsend Lumber worked out planting sites with Monsignor J.H. O’Neil principal Beth Allison. The trees were purchased from Potters Road Nursery.

“They gave us a list of about 11 tree species to choose from so we looked at the spread, the features, and thought about what would work well in the spaces we’re got,” said Devos.

O’Neil has several evergreens on the property – both pine and fir – and the new trees, which were mostly planted at the front of the school, are expected to add ‘nice fall colours.’

“One, over on top of the hill there, will be a nice big shade tree,” said Devos. “Two are in front of the school – they grow quite narrow and tall (Armstrong maples) and they go quite a nice red in the fall. Two are over by the driveway exit, on the side (Linden trees). They get blooms on them in the spring that are fragrant, then they go a beautiful golden-orange-yellow in the fall, and then two that are more like a low bush-type tree (Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry) on either side of the school sign to give it some visual interest. They have white blooms in the spring, berries in the summer, and in the fall they turn a bright, brick red.

“The one up on the hill, it’s called ‘!London plane tree’ and it is quite a large tree. Big green leaves but in the fall it goes a bronzy, coppery, orangy-yellow. It’s well known for its colours in the fall.”

The students were divided into small groups, each assisted by a volunteer from Townsend Lumber or teacher and followed a tree-planting instruction sheet, which included follow-up care requirements, which will be the responsibility of designated students over the next year.

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“We are very, very grateful,” said principal Allison speaking to the students. “Planting trees is a big deal, and to try to do that only by ourselves would be difficult. So we are super, super blessed to have some people here who can help us.”

Allison asked the students ‘why do we need trees?’ Responses included oxygen, taking away air pollutants, paper, and making homes for animals and birds.

“And they look beautiful.”

“We chose people in Grade 5 and 6 because you’re going to be here for years, and you will always look at these trees and remember this day when you helped to plant them.”

“We’re very excited to be here, happy Earth Day,” said Laura Townsend, co-owner of Townsend Lumber and BreezeWood Floors.

“We thought that for Earth Day our company should give back to the environment by planting some trees, and we thought it would be really nice to have some children involved. We’d like the kids to be hands-on.

“It’s a beautiful Earth Day and I hope that these seven trees grow and flourish for your school and that you have years to come with their enjoyment,” Townsend concluded after the successful tree planting.

“Hopefully we will do it again next year with another school – hopefully it will become an annual thing.”

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