A TREE-IFIC experience!🎋 🌲

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April 2022

Third graders at Dare County elementary schools are learning about the importance of trees, thanks to a “tree – ific” outreach program developed and taught by Aquarium and Pier educators.

The goal of the class is to teach students how to take care of a young tree as a mechanism to explain how trees can mitigate climate change.

Rhana Paris, outreach coordinator for the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island, says the children are soaking up the knowledge and looking forward to growing their trees.

Just the other day, when Paris delivered several saplings during a lesson, she was rewarded with big smiles and happy students.

“Kids Caring About the Climate” was paid for with a sustainability grant from the N.C. Aquarium Society. The program runs throughout the school year as the educators visit all five elementary schools three times each.

Jennette’s Pier’s Meredith Fish, outreach coordinator, said they started out with the basics. “Last time, they learned about the trunk, branches, roots and leaves,” she said.

Fish leads them in a song about trees. Several different games are also employed to keep things interesting.

Several weeks ago, during a visit to Kitty Hawk Elementary School, everyone in Melissa Kirkendall’s class got excited when she pulled out the baby trees and the kids examined them, some touching the leaves, trunk or soil.

In an engaging exercise, Paris and Fish teach them about how different trees feature different leaves. They also learn 18 vocabulary words such as canopy, evergreen, greenhouse effect and renewable energy.

As for the saplings, they discuss how much water to give them and how often. Paris and Fish look forward to returning to the school in May to check on the trees, the young gardeners, and the Tree – ific progress.

And speaking of terrific, don’t forget The Waves to Water DRINK Finale will be in the water this April. Stay tuned to our social media feeds for updates


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