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School, Community Ties Lead to Sprucing

Southeast Kelloggsville fourth-graders are planting roots in the community –- roots that will grow into big blue spruce trees.

IIvet Sosa-Aragon, Daniel Juarez and Jaizza Ramirez plant a tree at school

Thanks to a donation of saplings from retired teacher Gordy Reyburn, each student received their own tree to plant in their yard or school yard. Students marked Arbor Day by gathering at Ideal Park in Wyoming for a quick agriculture lesson and instructions on planting from Reyburn, who taught agriculture at Sparta High School and fourth grade at Palmer Elementary, in Grand Rapids Public Schools.

“I taught school for 30 years and people were always giving me stuff, so I thought I would give these away,” said Reyburn, who got the trees from a local nursery.

Alfredo Duran and Allan Gierz hold their new trees, ready for planting

Reyburn’s daughter, Pam Jurick, is on the City of Wyoming Tree Commission with Jim Ward, whose wife, Jane Ward, is on the Kelloggsville Board of Education.

Jim Ward, who attended the event, said the mission of the Tree Commission is to increase the canopy of trees and in the city of Wyoming. The commission also restored trees in Ideal Park, which lost many of them during a 2014 tornado.

The event also tied into the fourth-grade curriculum, said teacher Lynnea Roon. Students study tree rings, photosynthesis, parts of plants, seeds and seed travel.


Wyoming Tree Commission

Principal Kelly Farkas helps with planting at school
Angela Perez and Angela Paniagua both planned to plant their trees in their yards at home


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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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