Environment Erie

Erie students work to green their school neighborhood

Jul 15, 2011 | Posted in News

Erie students work to green their school neighborhood

Published: July 15. 2011 1:16AM
ByDANA MASSING, Erie Times-News
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Cigarette butts and wrappers, straws and empty cups lay scattered in the sun Thursday morning on a vacant lot at East 13th and Parade streets.

By the end of the afternoon, the trash was picked up and seven newly planted trees were beginning to provide shade.
"It looks nice," fourth-grader Malachi Choy, 8, said after the first tree went in.

Malachi and classmates from nearby Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School helped Country Fair employees clean the lot and put mulch around the trees as part of a "Greening Our Neighborhood" project. Students worked on the project with help from Environment Erie's Earth Action and Begin A Neighborhood Environment for Wildlife programs.

"It makes your neighborhood greener," said fourth-grader Steven King, 10.

Trees have been added around the school at 235 E. 11th St. as well as in the neighborhood from French to Parade streets between East Ninth and East 14th streets, said Pat Lupo, Environment Erie education director.

She said money for the trees has come from local businesses and nonprofits plus Pennsylvania's TreeVitalize Program, a partnership to restore tree cover in communities.

Four maple and three dogwood trees were planted Thursday by Brooks Landscape on the Parade Street lot that is owned by Country Fair. One of the chain's gas stations and convenience stores is next door, and two serviceberry trees were put in near it.

Pfeiffer-Burleigh students had made a presentation to Country Fair about adding trees.

"They walked us around the site, told us where they thought we should put trees," human resources assistant Deb Galloway said.

Starting in February, two dozen students learned about trees as part of science lessons. Students surveyed the school neighborhood, identifying the location and health of trees. The children then contacted businesses about the importance of trees and delivered letters to homeowners that encouraged planting trees.

"They give oxygen to people," Malachi said about trees. "They give shade. They prevent runoff ... from going to the lake."
Steven said trees provide homes for animals.

Peggy Gavin thought the project was "awesome." She not only lives in the neighborhood, but also works as a human resources assistant for Country Fair.

Gavin, Galloway and Chris Orton, Country Fair vice president, helped the students Thursday.
"It gives us an opportunity to make the city a little better," Orton said.

DANA MASSING can be reached at 870-1729 or by e-mail.