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Second Graders Learn Outside The Classroom By Planting Aspens

A group of second graders from Edith Bowen Laboratory School got the chance to plant new trees after a section of aspens were torn out during construction along the Blacksmith Fork River in Logan. 

Wilson Stewart said he’s going to come back and check on the tree he’s just planted.

“I think in ten years it’s going to be pretty big,” Stewart said.

Stewart and his classmates are outside on a windy day in Logan getting their hands dirty by digging holes, planting small seedlings and learning how water. 

“First you dig a hole and you measure it with the tree, then you squeeze the plastic around the tree and dump the tree out and then put the tree in,” Stewart said. “Put dirt all the way up to the stump of the tree, then put your foot and stomp around it to make a nice circle, then you pour water around the circle, and it will help the tree grow.”

According to Megan Dettenmaier, forestry extension educator at Utah State University, these second graders are at the perfect age to learn outside the classroom.

“While I’m certainly not saying that learning in the classroom isn’t important—this sort of experiential learning helps spark an interest in kids that perhaps might lead them one day to choose a field in natural resources,” Dettenmaier said.

Dettenmaier also said these kids are learning things—she hopes—they’ll continue to use in the future.

“I think this sort of project is great for anybody of any age,” Dettenmaier said. “Second graders have a lot of energy. They understand words like ‘habitat’ and ‘restoration.’ It takes a little bit of explaining but at the end of the day they understand that when we have done degradation to our environment, we got to fix it.”

The City of Logan has recently purchased hundreds of trees and shrubs to be planted along rivers in the city in similar projects like this one.