Tree potting muddies the hands, nurtures the soul

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery – more than 300 snapshots!

HAMLET — It was so good to be outside. It was even better to play in dirt.

Third-graders at Monroe Avenue Elementary School spent a portion of the first day of Spring on Friday outside with volunteers and members of the nonprofit Hamlet Tree and Beautification Group. The goal: Pot 70 apple trees, including the varieties Rome, Gala, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Pat Maples led each group of students from Kristen Little’s class through a brief demonstration of what tools to use, what was to happen and why. Maples was joined by Boyce Carpenter, Oscar Sellers, Nancy Norton, Sheila Sellers, Rick Mason, Janet Packer, Bobbie Williams, Betty Carter, Brad Martin and Renee Grzybowski. Special guests included Anne Edwards and Cathy Page, of Pee Dee Electric.

Maples waited for the kids to don pink surgical gloves before explaining how to use the mixture of pine bark and sand and fill the pots to just below the rim. It turns out that was the easy part. The more difficult part came when each two-person team manhandled the potted trees some 50 feet over to a temporary resting place.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Maples told the students, who will work with the trees each of the next two years before being given a chance to take one home, A tree is debarked in a sawmill, Maples said, and the bark is then ground up and mixed with sand to become potting soil.

“The children love coming down here,” Sharon Sellers said of the school nursery.

Sellers said the trees are eventually distributed to the students, group members and around the community, including at the Lions Club Fairgrounds in Hamlet.

Page and Edwards were on hand to surprise the group with a check for $5,000. The money is to be used to help with supplies, including tables and a shelter, for the beautification group’s work.

The grant comes from the Pee Dee Electric Care to Share Grant Program where members are able to contribute a few cents each month to support various non-profit organizations throughout the communities it serves. By simply rounding up their monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar amount, Members have contributed more than $826,000 since 2005. Monthly contributions can be as small as one penny, but never more than $.99. The extra cents, together with contributions from other members, are placed in a special trust managed by Pee Dee Electric’s board of directors.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bailey Kirk and Campbell Gross work together to take the newly potted tree to a staging area.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bailey Kirk and Campbell Gross work together to take the newly potted tree to a staging area.

“We need shears so bad,” Norton said, “and we need rakes.”

Science teacher Sharyl Gross said the program fits nicely into the curriculum. By this point, students have learned about plant development.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Cathy Page, of Pee Dee Electric, left, stands with Sharon Sellers and Nancy Norton of the Hamlet Tree and Beautification Group. Pee Dee Electric awarded a $5,000 grant from its Care to Share program.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Cathy Page, of Pee Dee Electric, left, stands with Sheila Sellers and Nancy Norton of the Hamlet Tree and Beautification Group. Pee Dee Electric awarded a $5,000 grant from its Care to Share program.

 

Filed in: Education, Farm & Ag, Featured News, Hamlet, Health, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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