Finding insects, collecting leaves, drawing the structures of trees... These are just a few of the activities that will be done by students at North Winneshiek Community School in a new Arboretum to be planted this spring.

The school has received a grant from the Department of Natural Resources through the Trees for Kids program to plant 48 trees.

The trees will be planted by teams of cross-grade students from preschool through eighth grades. The tentative planting date is May 6. The students will learn the appropriate way to plant a tree and learn about the care of the trees before the planting begins. Paul and Lisa Hudson of State Farm Insurance in Decorah are the business partners for the project and will be providing refreshments for the planting afternoon. The trees are being purchased from Ladybug Landscapes in Decorah with the assistance of Anita Weis. 

The Arboretum was planned with the help of the DNR's Trees For Kids Coordinator Laura Wagner. Grant writer for North Winneshiek Nancy Sojka says, "The Arboretum, including a wide variety of shade trees and lower growing trees and shrubs, will be planted in the area North of the school building. Middle School classrooms will look out on the Arboretum. Research has shown that students who have a view of natural areas including trees outside their classrooms do better academically." 

Also part of the grant, three new shade trees will be planted on the North Winn playground to shade the exercise trail. In addition to planting and mulching the new trees, students will have the responsibility of making sure that all trees get enough water; especially during the first two years of growth, while the trees are establishing their root systems. The Arboretum will provide an outdoor laboratory for students for many years to come.