Students help beautify Buchanan

Published 9:18 am Monday, April 27, 2015

Buchanan students enjoy juice and cookies after the Arbor Day program. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

Buchanan students enjoy juice and cookies after the Arbor Day program. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

BUCHANAN — Buchanan got a little bit greener on Friday with the help of a few dozen elementary school students.

In celebration of Arbor Day, students from Ottawa Elementary School and others helped plant two trees on the school grounds during a program hosted by the Buchanan Garden Club.

The swamp white oak and autumn blaze maple trees are tiny now, but with the right care and good fortune, those who planted the trees hope they will grow up tall and strong.

“In 20 years you can come back and say, “I was part of a group that planted that tree,’” guest speaker Corbin Detgen told the children.

Detgen also challenged the students to help spread the word about all the good things trees do for the planet Earth.

Trees produce the oxygen that we breathe, he said, and their roots keep the soil from washing away. The wood from trees is also used to make countless things we use everyday, from desks to pencils to the material our homes are made of.

“Of all the plant families, the tree is the greatest and, perhaps, the most useful to us as humans,” he said. “One of the things I hope you do is go back and tell friends and family the important things trees do for us.”

Buchanan’s Arbor Day celebration included music from the Buchanan school band, an appearance by Miss Buchanan Marissa Claxton and a proclamation by Mayor Carla Cole.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, handed out Serbian Spruce saplings to the students in attendance. The saplings were donated by Second Nature Gardens of St. Joseph.

During the program, Cole introduced the city’s new Memorial Tree Program, which allows residents to purchase a tree in someone’s memory or in recognition of a special occasion. The cost includes planting of the tree by the city.

Once planted, residents will get a certificate showing they purchased the tree and the transaction will be recorded in the city’s online registry.

“It is a great way of giving back to the city and to replace trees that we’ve lost in the past,” Cole said, adding that the city has had to cut down 200 trees recently for various reasons.

Residents can purchase trees through the new program by contacting city hall at (269) 695-3844.