Milestone Project Gives Tree To Every Kindergartener

Part of the mission of the LKWDGreenTeam is to nurture good environmental stewards among students and staff. Like the development of any mindset, it helps to start young. The team’s Kindergarten Milestone Trees Project will give our youngest learners a tangible reminder of not only the benefits of healthy trees in our community, but it will also allow them to watch those trees grow as they do!

The project was the brainchild of LKWDGreenTeam and Harding Middle School staff members Diane Quimper and Laura Balliett as a great way to mark the milestone of our kindergarteners educational journey and foster their connection with nature. Each kindergartener will receive a poplar sapling to plant at home. The trees and planting materials were donated by Lynn Yanyo, founder of, and someone Balliett met thanks to common interests in raising awareness and educating people about environmental issues. 

“We wanted to create an opportunity for positive childhood memories with trees so that the next generation will be inspired to connect with nature and advocate for natural spaces in our urban community,” Quimper said.

On October 20, GreenTeam members and other district staff members joined with student volunteers from Help to Others (H2O), Harding Green Team club as well as some District families to plant and package about 300 saplings for distribution. Parents and their kindergarteners began picking up the trees at their buildings this week. Along with the tree, they received an adoption certificate, planting and care instructions, and an original comic created by Balliett showing the many benefits of trees.  We hope to see some photos of the students with their trees not only after they plant them, but as they continue to both grow each year as well!

While this project started with the district's kindergarteners, the hope is to see the idea grow beyond Lakewood City Schools. 

“Planting trees is one of the easiest ways to help fight climate change, and when these little learners plant their trees, they will be making a difference,” Balliett said. “I hope we can continue getting trees out there and rebuild the tree canopy not only in our district but in districts all over.”

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Volume 16, Issue 21, Posted 8:02 PM, 11.04.2020