LYNN — Callahan Elementary School fifth graders along with a handful of city officials and Principal Ed Turmenne planted the last of a veritable young forest Thursday in front of the Callaghan Way School.
“It may sound corny but sometimes there is nothing like a nice tree,” Turmenne said with a smile.
Over the last few weeks Department of Public Works employees have planted 110 trees across West Lynn, nearly 90 split between Callahan, Breed Middle School and Classical High School.
John Moberger from Community Development said the remaining trees were planted in and around Frey and Hood parks.
“This whole area, some of the schools here are newer than others and work left the area without very many trees,” he said.
The trees were funded through an Urban Forestry Challenge Grant and is administered through the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“One hundred and ten trees is something,” said Community Development Director James Marsh, shaking his head.
Jim Connolly from Northeast Nursery walked the students along with Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Ward 5 Councilor Brendan Crighton and School Committee member John Ford through the process of planting a tree.
He told the kids trees are important because they provide shade in the summer, block wind in the winter, provide paper so they can study and read books, and help clean the air.
As Connolly showed students how to fill in dirt mixed with fertilizer and manure around the 12-foot red maple, 10-year-old Jean Gupton asked if dogs relieving themselves on a tree was a good thing.
“That’s a good question,” Connolly said before answering no, that it could burn the tree.
Jeanne Galdamez, 11, wondered why Connolly didn’t remove the burlap sack that was wrapped around the trees roots.
“You ask good questions,” he noted.
Connolly said the bag was made of natural fibers and over time would decompose on its own. He also pointed out that the tree’s roots were attached to the bag and removing it could destroy them.
In the spring students will see tiny red flowers on the tree that will quickly turn to green leaves, which will turn red in the fall, hence the name red maple, he explained.
Moberger said years from now students could return to the area and see the trees, which will reach 45 feet to 50 feet in height.
Turmenne said he was pleased with the gift of trees.
“We’re out here a lot,” he said. “The young ones have recess here, we use it for field day and for Memorial Day we’re out here for services. We utilize this space a lot.”
Chris Stevens can be reached at [email protected].