Project Plant It!, the environmental education program created by Dominion Resources, Inc., will celebrate a significant milestone this spring: 10 years of helping children learn about the important role of trees in the ecosystem. A hallmark of the program is the distribution of free redbud tree seedlings to all participating children, providing a memorable and meaningful way to celebrate Arbor Day (April 29).
“Just as trees begin life as tiny seedlings, Project Plant It! has grown significantly from a pilot program in the Richmond region into a multi-state initiative that has become an annual tradition for educators, families and children throughout our service areas,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. “Project Plant It! is one of the many ways that Dominion seeks to support those who teach children and to partner with the communities we serve.”
In a new twist for the 10th anniversary, enrollment was extended into several new regions and opened to children of all grade levels instead of just third graders, as in prior years. Also, participation was opened to any entity that educates or works with youth, such as Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, home schools, preschools, church groups and civic associations.
Thanks to these expansions, Dominion provided free educational resources and 50,000 tree seedlings to children of all ages in 2016—many of whom had never participated in this program until now. Seedlings went to children in nine states served by Dominion, including Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia andWest Virginia.
Since the program was created in 2007, more than 350,000 tree seedlings have been distributed to students. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, this equates to about 875 acres of new forest if all of the seedlings are planted and grow to maturity. In addition, Project Plant It! provides free educational materials, interactive games and videos about trees, along with a variety of outdoor, hands-on activities, on its website at www.projectplantit.com.
Over the past decade, many organizations and agencies have served as longtime collaborative partners with Dominion and Project Plant It!, including the national Arbor Day Foundation, the Virginia Department of Forestry, Richmond Public Schools and many school systems throughout Dominion’s service area.
“Through Project Plant It!, Dominion has ensured a lasting legacy for future generations,” said Bettie Guthrie, education chair for the Willcox Watershed Conservancy in Petersburg, Va. “For eight years, third-grade students in Petersburg have celebratedArbor Day at Lee Memorial Park, where they plant trees to honor our military troops. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this important educational partnership.”
In addition to the Arbor Day event in Lee Memorial Park, tree celebrations are planned at Goochland Elementary School inGoochland, Va., at Ginter Park Elementary School in the City of Richmond, Va., and at Great Bridge Intermediate inChesapeake, Va., among others.
For more information about Project Plant It!, visit www.projectplantit.com or “Like” Project Plant It! on Facebook.