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Martin Students Assist With Arbor Day Ceremony

Fourth-graders in Elizabeth Tamsin’s class at Martin School were ready when asked to name different kinds of trees.

“Birch,” said one.

“Elm” said another.

When yet another student said “dogwood,” Thomas Degnan laughed and jokingly asked the boy if he had inside information.

That’s because Degnan and the students were standing around a flowering dogwood, which was the centerpiece of an Arbor Day tree-planting celebration on Friday.

Degnan is a senior environmental scientist/forester for Burns & McDonnell, a renowned  engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting firm. He was joined by James Little, development director for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and other dignitaries.

The firm and association have been working together for more than five yearS on various community and environmental initiatives -- including Arbor Day events such as the one at Martin.

There’s lots of testimony about the importance of trees, and as the the Arbor Day Foundation itself says: “They clean air and water, slow climate change, ease poverty and hunger, prevent species loss, and feed the human soul. … All we need to do is plant and care for them.”

Friday’s program started with comments from Superintendent Matt Geary followed by school board Chairman Christopher Pattacini. After Degnan spoke, students took turns shoveling dirt around the base of the tree, which had been planted earlier with help from members of the district’s Building and Grounds Department.

“We’re grateful to both Burns & McDonnell and to the Forest and Park Association,” Geary  said. “And it is nice to see our students participate because it gives them a greater understanding and sense of commitment to preserving our environment.”

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