County organization gives away trees

Published 11:59 pm Sunday, February 15, 2009

NATCHEZ — It may be true that money doesn’t grow on trees, but the Adams Soil and Water Conservation District wants local residents to know that trees have lots of other benefits.

The district was promoting that message Friday by giving away free Loblolly Pine seedlings and selling bundles of other popular trees.

“We give away the pine seedlings to encourage people to plant them, because this permits conservation of the soil,” Adams County Soil and Water Conservation District Coordinator Pat Williams said.

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The effort was largely successful, Williams said.

“We had so many people who came in and wanted tons of trees,” she said.

The tree give-away coincided with the observance of Mississippi’s Arbor Day.

Since 1926, the state and county boards of education have been instructed to set aside a day to place ornamental and shade trees, as well as flowers, wherever was practical on school grounds.

The second Friday in February was later officially designated as Arbor Day.

Because of Arbor Day, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Adams County MSU Extension Service went into local schools last week to teach the children about the importance of trees.

And after the educational programs were completed, the tree-promoting partners gave trees to approximately 350 third graders at McLaurin Elementary, and donated three river birches to the school.

“The students were going to plant the trees themselves, Williams said.

Williams said the district wants to continue to encourage people to plant trees even if they didn’t get a tree Friday.

Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, but they also provide more visible benefits.

“Some of the ornamentals are just beautiful to look at, and the evergreens provide shade,” Williams said. “When you’ve got them around your house, the shade can cut down on electricity costs.”

And then there’s the bottom line — they can give you food.

“With the fruit trees, you can eat the fruit, or you can use them to make jams and jellies,” Williams said.