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Earth Team Volunteers Donate Trees to 4th Graders

April 23, 2007

Three Humboldt Senior High School students serve as Earth Team Volunteers. For Earth Day, the three boys (in back, L-R, Jon Pedersen, Cory Shillington and Mitch Williams) donated red maple trees to all fourth graders in Humboldt County. They are pictured here with a class from St. Mary's Catholic School.
Three Humboldt Senior High School students serve as Earth Team Volunteers. For Earth Day, the three boys (in back, L-R, Jon Pedersen, Cory Shillington and Mitch Williams) donated red maple trees to all fourth graders in Humboldt County. They are pictured here with a class from St. Mary's Catholic School.

Donating a tree to every fourth grader in Humboldt County, Iowa has become an Earth Day tradition for Terri Christensen, secretary in the Humboldt field office.

The trees are paid for by the Humboldt Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). For the past nine years Christensen has represented the Humboldt SWCD, with assistance from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Humboldt County Conservation, in handing out trees to students, teaching them about the environmental benefits they provide.

This year Christensen had help from three NRCS Earth Team volunteers Mitch Williams, Cory Shillington and Jon Pedersen. All are 17-years-old juniors at Humboldt Senior High School. The three have worked as Earth Team volunteers as part of an environmental studies class.

Along with Christensen, the three boys presented information and handed out 135 red maple trees on April 18 to students from across Humboldt County. "I think the fourth graders appreciated having a young face in the room presenting them these trees, instead of just an NRCS figure," said Christensen.

The boys' presentation included general information about red maple trees, the best place to plant them and ways to maintain them and help them grow. "Maple trees grow fast, and their leaves turn orange and red in the fall," said Williams. "They can grow up to about 60 feet, providing shade and protection from strong winds."

Pedersen received a tree from Christensen when he was in fourth grade. "I remember receiving a maple tree from Terri seven years ago," said Pedersen. "My family and I planted it at my grandma's house. It's neat that I am now the one presenting them a tree."

Christensen plans to keep the Earth Day tradition going. "I think trees provide so many wonderful benefits," she said. "I really enjoy the trees in my yard. They attract a lot of different types of birds. I think planting a tree is a really good thing."

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Contacts:
Terri Christensen, State Secretary
Humboldt, Iowa
Phone: 515-332-3337
E-mail: terry.christensen@ia.usda.gov

Jason Johnson, Public Affairs Specialist
Des Moines, Iowa
Phone: 515-323-2701
E-mail: Jason.r.johnson@ia.usda.gov