St. Joseph School plants 35 trees to begin outdoor classroom


By Joel Charron

The playground at St. Joseph School is looking a little different these days.

Students from the school were joined by older students from nearby St. Thomas of Villanova, to help the elementary school to plant 35 trees. ERCA’s Friends of Canard River were also on hand to help in the tree planting.

Friends of Canard River co-coordinator, Caroline Biribauer said the 35 trees that were planted are all native to the region, such as hackberry, honey locust, sycamore, red oak, burr oak, basswood and autumn blaze. The trees were planted in the northeast corner of the playground.

Villanova horticulture and construction students assisted the younger students by providing them with stakes to hold the freshly planted trees as well as benches for the students to sit on.

Biribauer said two members of the group have a child going to St. Joseph and things

Reese Carey holds the tree in place while Nicholas Quaggiotto uses a shovel to fill in the hole.

progressed from there. She said she has had plantings at a number of schoolyards and doing one at St. Joseph “sort of seemed like a natural progression.

“This is phase one of a multi-phase plan,” said Biribauer.

Lisa Tomac, a member of Friends of Canard River with husband Ed, said when they started bringing son Anthony to St. Joseph School three years ago they noticed a lack of shade on the playground. She was pleased Friends of Canard River was able to help with the tree planting.

“There’s going to have to be a lot of care and ownership for the kids,” said Tomac.

St. Joseph’s principal Doris Baggio said the playground provided little shade for students. She also noted that the tree would provide the students with an outdoor classroom so the students can learn about nature “first hand.”

Each class will adopt a tree and will be asked to maintain it.

“We want them to keep ownership of the project,” said Baggio.   “The key thing is, they have to own this.”

Trees were paid for through funds raised in the school’s “music-a-thon” as well as donations from the town of LaSalle and the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup.

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