Arbor Day Plans for Friday, April 29 – Fifth Grade Tree at Compass Rose

An Owl sketch of her favorite tree

Have you ever noticed the Tree City USA signs at the “borders” to Weston? Currently, they read “18 years” and as of tomorrow, the digits will turn to the 19th year of Weston as a Tree City USA. Being a Tree City means that the town has made a commitment, financial and operational,  to planting trees and follows certain guidelines about managing its forests. 

Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872, led by J Sterling Morton, the original Champion of Trees. Yes, I do have a Morton Arboretum bumper sticker that reads “Champion of Trees” and if you’ve never been there, or called their plant clinic where the Grand Owl volunteers, you’ve not lived. But I digress…

On Friday, April 29, 2022, Weston will celebrate Arbor Day with the dedication of a beautiful persimmon tree donated by Russ Cohen, one of Weston’s biggest champions of trees, and master forager. This is just one of a number of trees that Mr. Cohen donated to the Case Campus, and all were planted on town land by a number of volunteers including the town’s Conservation Administrator Jordan McCarron.

Rainy day for the first Fifth Grade Tree for class of 2025 (April 2018)

This persimmon tree will be dedicated as the Class of 2029 Fifth Grade Tree. This will be the fifth year that the fifth grade class has been presented with a tree to care for now and always. The tradition started in Weston in 2018 with the Class of 2025 (then fifth graders) who “got” a red oak tree at Field School, then the next year the Class of 2026 received a redbud also at Field School. In 2020, the pandemic forced a change of plans for the Class of 2027 tree and two redstick dogwoods are dedicated to the class at the Middle School (significant as they lost the spring of their fifth grade year at Field school and moved on directly to the Middle School). Last spring the class of 2028 tree (a hawthorn) was planted at the top of the rise of the Legacy Trail on Case Estates. And now, this persimmon will find its home and its dedication to the Class of 2029 at the Compass Rose of the Legacy Trail.

The Friday morning event (10 am at the Compass Rose for those who would like to join) will include a short presentation by Nina Danforth, Weston Tree Advisory Group member, and the official Arbor Day proclamation. A group of fifth grade green team students will lay the Class of 2029 plaque at the foot of the newly-planted tree.

Arbor Day means Nina Danforth is planting trees in Weston! Photo 2020

“We have a special relationship with trees here in Weston, a community known for its canopy and tree-lined streets,” says Nina Danforth. ”We also are a town of traditions and this one is much beloved.”

The idea of the Fifth Grade Tree came from Wellesley College and from the Owl (yes, me). Here’s the quote I gave to the Crier that first year (2018):

“My college alma mater has a tradition of planting a class tree when we are sophomores, and re-visiting the tree every reunion—it is simply awe-inspiring to watch them grow…and to see a tree dated 1879 on campus,”  said Kristin Barbieri, mother of two Field fifth graders [Ed: now 9th graders]. “I wanted to bring the tradition to Weston, and hopefully get the kids to continue to care for the class trees as they all grow up. It’s an important lesson in giving back to nature.”

There will be a number of other Arbor Day trees planted around town, though the planting has been delayed due to supply chain issues. Other trees are generously underwritten by Eversource and planted by Weston Nurseries.

Please join us in welcoming these new trees to Weston’s Case Campus, and thank you to Weston’s Tree Advisory Group for making it happen.

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