by Suyapa Marquez, Senior Community Affairs Representative for Dominion Energy
Page Hutchinson, VDOF’s forest education specialist, gave a special forestry presentation to all third-graders in Petersburg public schools on March 19. Students from the area’s four elementary schools came in two shifts to Walnut Hill Elementary School for an educational field trip that will help boost their science skills when the SOL testing period begins.
The field trip is part of a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It! program, which helps students learn about the important role of trees in the ecosystem
During her fun and interactive presentation, Page led the students in a brain-building exercise where they looked at photos of commonly used items and voted thumbs up or thumbs down on whether the item came from a tree or not. Also, she engaged them in a high-energy “Tree Factory” exercise where the students acted out the different parts of a tree to better understand how complex trees really are.
As part of their involvement with Project Plant It!, the students will get a redbud tree seedling to plant at home for Arbor Day. Page shared a number of resources with the teachers and they also can download free lesson plans and instructional tools about trees from projectplantit.com.
Johna Vazquez, an educator with Petersburg City Public Schools, thanked Page for sharing her expertise with the students. “Through the thought-provoking sessions, I believe our students grew in their depth of knowledge about the influence that trees have on our environment,” she said.
Project Plant It! is a free environmental education program developed by Dominion Energy to educate students and plant trees. The program began in Spring 2007, making Spring 2018 the 12th observance of this award-winning program. From 2007-2018, Dominion Energy has distributed about 500,000 free tree seedlings to students enrolled in the program in areas served by Dominion Energy. To learn more, visit projectplantit.com.