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Arbor Day jewel: McEver Elementary students plant a little gem magnolia
Sarah Lux’s class at McEver Elementary helps Doug Andrews plant a little gem magnolia tree in celebration of Arbor Day. - photo by Tom Reed

A class at McEver Elementary School planted a tree Thursday afternoon in celebration of Arbor Day, which is today.

Doug Andrews, chief forest ranger with the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Banks-Hall County Unit, helped Sarah Lux’s fifth-grade class at the school plant a little gem magnolia tree Thursday afternoon in celebration of Arbor Day.

A student in Lux’s class, Oscar Contreras, was a runner-up in an Arbor Day poster contest sponsored by the Georgia Forestry Commission, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Andrews dug the hole for the tree before the class arrived, then showed students how to remove the tree from its planter and place it in the ground.

Students helped pitch dirt in the hole and level the tree near McEver’s front parking lot.

Andrews then placed a bag around the base of the tree that, when filled with water, slowly releases water into the soil. Students finished the job by helping throw mulch around the 6-foot tree.

The tree, with proper care, could grow to a height of 35 feet, Andrews told the students.

He finished his presentation by taking a group shot of the class, with Contreras next to the tree.

Andrews also helped students plant a tree Wednesday at Mount Vernon Elementary and will help plant a third Tuesday at Myers Elementary.

These schools were chosen because a student from each placed in the local Arbor Day Poster Contest. In addition to Contreras, Javy Euyoque of Myers Elementary was a runner-up. Laila Hasnain of Mount Vernon Elementary won first place.

An Arbor Day Celebration is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at the Northeast Georgia History Center, 322 Academy St., on the Brenau University campus. All three students will be honored at that event.

In addition, the celebration will include recognition for champion tree winners and Gainesville’s 21st Tree City Award. The celebration is open to the public, and tree seedlings will be available.