ERCA and Villanova students plant trees for cemetary

By Joel Charron

Students of St. Thomas of Villanova aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to better the environment.

On Wednesday, June 1, Grade 10 students from Andy Paling Horticulture class planted over 100 trees and shrubs on Rose Hill and St. John the Baptist Cemetery.

The tree planting is part of a partnership between Heavenly Rest Cemeteries and the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

The partnership is in its fifth year and has been renewed for another five years. During the five years Paling said they have planted over 600 trees.

“The students really like coming out and planting these tree,” said Pailing. “I have students that have planted trees in the past that have asked to come on back so they can check out the trees they planted.”

Grade 10 student Tyler Wheaton hold the tree in place while Jake Santia fills the hole with soil.

In total, 60 species of native shrubs, coniferous and deciduous trees were planted, including Red Cedar, White Spruce, Silver Maple, Burr Oak and many other types.

ERCA Friends of Watershed Organizer Caroline Biribauer said the reason why they are using native trees is because they will have a better chance to surviving.

There are two components to the tree planting. According to Paling, the students will return in the fall to harvest nuts and return to a greenhouse where they can grow new trees for planting.

It’s been quite the adventure in organizing this years tree planting. The event had to be postponed because of inclement weather. Villanova usually teams up with a Catholic grade school for this event, however because the students are busy with EQAO testing, they were unable to attend.

For all their hard work, the students were treated to a barbecue once the trees were in the ground.

“I really enjoy planting the trees,” said Grade 10 student Kori Diotte. “It will be cool to see how these trees are in a few years.”

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