More than 20 young trees border the grounds of Jefferson School in Westfield, thanks to a community partnership involving town officials, the Rotary Club of Westfield and the Jefferson school community.
On June 4, Jefferson students, parents, staff and other volunteers planted six Red Oaks, completing a project that began on April 29 with the planting of six Elm, six White Oak, three Yellow Wood, and one Ivory Silk Lilac Tree.
With funding from the Westfield Foundation, the Westfield Rotary, and a Rotary International district grant provided last year as part of a townwide tree planting project, the Westfield Department of Public Works purchased and transported the saplings to Jefferson, providing the heavy equipment needed to dig deep holes and place the trees. Volunteers shoveled dirt to cover the large root balls, followed by mulch around the base of each tree and so-called ‘gator bag’ watering systems.
“Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Humans do the reverse, creating a balanced symbiosis. Each tree provides enough oxygen for two people on average,” says Dr. D. Michael Hart, past district governor of the Rotary Club of Westfield. “The leaves filter out heavy metals and other air pollution, giving us clean healthy air. In addition, trees beautify the area. This project is sustainable because trees live for many decades.”
Among the many volunteers participating in the planting project were members of the Jefferson Early Act Club, a community service student organization sponsored by the Westfield Rotary.
"The Jefferson community is so grateful to all who contributed to and participated in this important project,” says Jefferson principal Dr. Susie Hung. “We look forward to enjoying these magnificent trees every season for years to come.”