Educational Tree-Planting Partnership with DEC Enters Third Year

White spruce illustration by Aljos Farjon, reprinted from
Better Farm is entering its third year of a partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation's School Seedling Program, which seeks to encourage young people to learn about the natural world and the value of trees in it. We will invite local youngsters this spring to join us for a morning of planting 50 white spruce seedlings on our property, our mission being to provide visitors to Better Farm with the knowledge of how beneficial trees are to the environment.

Each year, we pledge to plant at least 100 trees on the property of Better Farm and in its surrounding environs. This process replenishes our local habitat and compensates for the loss of trees throughout the year due to a variety of factors (namely ice storms!). We also harvest standing-dead trees on the property, which makes way for new growth. In the last two years, we've planted 100 trees from the DEC, dozens of fruit trees, weeping willows, transplanted at least 30 pine trees, and started from seed more than 150 black walnuts.

Most of us recognize the beauty of trees and their many other values. Trees provide food and shelter for wildlife and prevent erosion. They help protect our streams and lakes by stabilizing soil and using nutrients that would otherwise wash into waterways. Trees help moderate temperature and muffle noise. They even help improve air quality by absorbing some airborne compounds that could be harmful to us, and by giving off oxygen.

When students plant tree seedlings, they can see for themselves the structure of trees, learn what they need, and how they grow. Reps from Better Farm will  use the planting process to discuss the benefits trees provide, while including many subjects that their classes are studying. As seedlings mature, the young trees can be a continuing, personalized way of relating what they've learned in books to visible, living examples. We'll be utilizing mulch and compost while we plant, so students gain the added benefit of learning about how their food waste can help nourish other plants.

Better Farm's sustainability students will provide ongoing care to the young trees throughout their development.

Stay tuned for our planting date! In the meantime, learn more about this program by clicking here.
 To be notified via email or phone of the tree-planting date when it is determine, email us at

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.