Field Notes: VDOF Supports Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It!

by Sara Hunt, Project Plant It!

Page Hutchinson, the VDOF’s forest education specialist, shared her knowledge of trees with students who were enrolled in Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It! program. During the month of April, she visited Meriwether Lewis Elementary in Albemarle County and Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Louisa County.

Her interactive presentations helped the students understand more about the products that come from trees and also about the important role that trees play in the ecosystem. Students especially enjoyed voting thumbs up or thumbs down on whether an item came from a tree or not. Also, they loved the “Tree Factory” activity where they acted out all the different parts of a tree to learn how complex trees really are. As you can tell from the photos, Page generated a lot of energy and excitement about trees for these lucky students.

The media team for Albemarle County Public Schools created a cool video featuring Page: https://youtu.be/bYoo93OZhb8

Project Plant It! was developed in 2007 by Dominion Energy to educate children about the benefits of trees and to improve the environment by planting trees. Each participating student received a redbud tree seedling to plant for Arbor Day. Dominion Energy partners with the Virginia Department of Forestry to enhance learning through these fun forester presentations to selected schools. For more information, visit projectplantit.com.

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Page Hutchinson at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
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Page Hutchinson at Meriwether Lewis Elementary School

VDOF in the Spotlight at Project Plant It! Event

by Suyapa Marquez, Senior Community Affairs Representative for Dominion Energy

VDOF representatives visited Oak Grove Elementary  (Richmond Public Schools) on April 24 to support an interactive Arbor Day event with the third-graders. The students were culminating their study of Project Plant It!, the free environmental education program created by Dominion Energy to teach kids about the importance of trees and how to plant trees.

Barbara White at Oak Grove

The rainy day didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the students as they gathered indoors to learn interesting facts about trees from Barbara White, VDOF’s urban forestry coordinator. She shared her expertise about how trees grow and how to take care of them properly.

At the conclusion of her remarks she presented Hunter Woods, a Dominion Energy forester, with a Tree Line USA banner from the Arbor Day Foundation. The Tree Line USA program recognizes companies that engage in best practices in public and private utility arboriculture, demonstrating how trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens. Woods accepted the award on behalf of Dominion Energy.

Barbara White & Hunter Woods

The students then sang a special song called “Things That Grow,” which was followed by planting six redbud trees on the school grounds. Cynthia Scheuermann, urban & community forestry specialist with the VDOF, assisted with the tree plantings.

DOF Reps at Oak Grove

“It was so much fun to watch the students connect with nature in a fun and meaningful way,” said Barbara White. “When they visit the school in years to come, they’ll always remember planting the redbuds to celebrate Arbor Day.”

Petersburg Third-Graders Boost Science Skills With Project Plant It!

by Suyapa Marquez, Senior Community Affairs Representative for Dominion Energy

Page Hutchinson, VDOF’s forest education specialist, gave a special forestry presentation to all third-graders in Petersburg public schools on March 19. Students from the area’s four elementary schools came in two shifts to Walnut Hill Elementary School for an educational field trip that will help boost their science skills when the SOL testing period begins.

The field trip is part of a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It! program, which helps students learn about the important role of trees in the ecosystem

During her fun and interactive presentation, Page led the students in a brain-building exercise where they looked at photos of commonly used items and voted thumbs up or thumbs down on whether the item came from a tree or not. Also, she engaged them in a high-energy “Tree Factory” exercise where the students acted out the different parts of a tree to better understand how complex trees really are.

Petersburg students voting (1)

As part of their involvement with Project Plant It!, the students will get a redbud tree seedling to plant at home for Arbor Day. Page shared a number of resources with the teachers and they also can download free lesson plans and instructional tools about trees from projectplantit.com.

Forester with tree cookie (1)

Johna Vazquez, an educator with Petersburg City Public Schools, thanked Page for sharing her expertise with the students. “Through the thought-provoking sessions, I believe our students grew in their depth of knowledge about the influence that trees have on our environment,” she said.

Project Plant It! is a free environmental education program developed by Dominion Energy to educate students and plant trees. The program began in Spring 2007, making Spring 2018 the 12th observance of this award-winning program. From 2007-2018, Dominion Energy has distributed about 500,000 free tree seedlings to students enrolled in the program in areas served by Dominion Energy. To learn more, visit projectplantit.com.