Arbor Day awareness spreads to schools, community

Published 12:13 am Friday, February 10, 2012

Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat — County Agent David Carter shows Cathedral third graders the proper way to plant a pine tree. Each student recieved a pine tree after Carter, the Adams County extension service, the Soil and Water Conversation District and Sam E. Soil, the district’s mascot, went around to schools and gave each student a pine tree.

NATCHEZ — This week the Adams County Soil and Water Conservation District has been making the rounds in Adams County, all with one message — plant a tree.

And today, as part of Mississippi’s Arbor Day celebration, the district will be giving away Loblolly Pines at the U.S. Department of Agriculture building at 110 Northgate Road from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The trees will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Planting trees is good for a lot of things, including providing shade, shelter and food for animals and preventing erosion, Soil and Water District Coordinator Pat Williams said.

“In Adams County, due to our soil, erosion is a problem in the area,” she said. “We have a good many people in the city and county who call on us from time-to-time because their soil is eroding.”

Adams County’s soil base is loess soil. It is easily eroded because loess is wind-blown silt that compacted through the years. Planting trees and other ground cover helps slow erosion, because the trees help slow the speed of running water and the plants’ roots hold the soil together.

Those who claim the free trees will be given approximately 25 trees each. The trees the district will be giving away will be easy to plant, and Soil and Water will provide information about how to care for them.

“I think (the trees) are pretty hardy, enough so to grow in this area,” Williams said. “Just plant them in a sunny place, in a wide-open space, so they can have space to grow up.”

As part of the tree planting effort, the conservation district has visited four area schools — McLaurin Elementary School, Trinity Episcopal Day School, Adams County Christian School and Cathedral School — and made an educational presentation about the importance of trees before giving the students trees of their own to plant. Part of the presentation included Sam E. Soil, the district’s mascot, a 7-foot tall cross-section of the different soil layers.

“Sammy talks about the layers of the soil and where it is best to plant the trees we give (the students),” Williams said.

Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat — Sam E. Soil, a conservation mascot, visited with the students.

In addition to the tree giveaway, the conservation district will be selling a selection of hardwoods and fruit trees. The hardwood trees will be available for $3 and the fruit trees for $10. Likewise, the district will be selling tree protectors for $2.50.

“We have tree protectors, because I heard a lot of people say their trees didn’t make it because the deer get them,” Williams said. “We’re not making any money on the tree protectors.”

“I think they’re a bargain, especially if you don’t have to buy the same tree next year.”

Proceeds from the sales are used to support the district’s educational programs.