Inspiring Young Loraxes in the North Country

Volunteers helped to plant 50 white spruce trees on the Better Farm campus in the last week.
In its third year of a partnership with the DEC, Better Farm over the weekend planted 50 white spruce trees to help educate North Country youth about conservation and land stewardship.

The Department of Environmental Conservation's School Seedling Program seeks to encourage young people to learn about the natural world and the value of trees in it. We use the tree-planting 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 150 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. We have 50 more trees to plant this spring—email us to get involved!

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  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.

here's one of our volunteers reading an excerpt from Dr. Seuss' classic book, The Lorax.

Join us May 11 for Better Farm's Volunteer Day! Click here for more details.

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.