--- Issued April 25, 2014

Erie's news media took part in the Hace Wangari Maathai Arbor Day project at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments on April 24, where more than 40 children and 30 volunteers, including Authority staffers, and community partners such as the YMCA Kids Club, the John F. Kennedy Center, the Quality of Life Learning Center, Girl Scouts, the Erie County Library, and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie,  and even the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority participated -- master gardeners from the EMTA Authority dug dirt and planted trees along with everyone else.

Here are two of the stories broadcast and published by the news media -- one from WICU-TV and one from the Erie Times-News:

Kids, Volunteers Plant Hundreds of Trees



(For video, click HERE)

 It's the largest tree planting event that Erie's seen in decades. On Friday afternoon, Erie kids and volunteers planted 250 tree seedlings, in honor of Arbor Day.

"It's pretty awesome and it's helping  the environment a lot," said Megan Tauber, 10, of Erie.

"It's awesome seeing all the wonderful trees and everyone working together, it's pretty cool," said Jatorian Petty, 10.

About 40 kids and 30 volunteers all worked together to plant the 250 seedlings into three separate nurseries by the John Horan Garden Apartments on Tacoma Road. The project aims to help Erie's environment and beautify neighborhoods.

It's a project started by the housing authority, but made possible with the help of many organizations, like the Benedictine Sisters and the YMCA Kids Club.

"It is exciting, it's never been done before. We're always looking for new things to do and ways to engage the children, to learn about their environment, take care of their environment, and enjoy it," said John Horan, executive director of the Erie Housing Authority.

The kids who planted trees will also be responsible for taking care of the seedlings in the nurseries for the next couple of years, until the trees are ready to be transplanted and survive on their own.

"I'm planning to name it and watch over it as it grows," Petty said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing it grow, because it's just awesome to think that we planted them and now they're growing to be huge," Tauber said.

And Friday's planting session is just a start. By summertime, the group will have 1,000 seedlings planted.

"Trees create beauty wherever they go. They bring wildlife, the sounds of birds singing, they help clean the air, water, they make everything better," said Sarah Galloway, arborist for the City of Erie.

On Wednesday, the kids and volunteers will plant 250 more trees in nurseries at Erie Heights.

The cost for all the seedlings will total about $6,000 funded both by the Benedictine Sisters and the Erie Housing Authority.

Effort Takes Root -- Kids help out at community tree planting



National Arbor Day on Friday produced one of the largest community tree plantings in Erie history, according to Erie Housing Authority officials.

More than 40 children, numerous adults and master gardeners planted 18-inch seedlings -- 250 of them -- in three nursery locations at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments, 730 Tacoma Road.

Every time 10-year-old Anaya Nevels-Williams planted a seeding, she gave the tree a name.

"We get to plant trees, and it's on a special occasion day,'' said Anaya, a fourth-grade student at Edison Elementary School.

"I like trees, and I like to sit in the shade, and I like to sit in the trees because it makes me calm down,'' she said.

Erie Housing Authority staff participated in the event, along with Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 10 members of the Erie County Master Gardeners, city of Erie arborist Sarah Galloway and children from the YMCA Kids Club, the John F. Kennedy Center, the Quality of Life Learning Center and Girl Scouts.

"This is a project we've worked on with the kids for a couple weeks," said Benedictine Sister Pat Lupo, director of the Garden Apartments' Green Team.

"We've had four or five sessions with the kids on why trees are important, what trees give to us and what we can do to make a difference,'' Lupo said. "April is Earth month, but what we talk a lot about is Earth Day just one day? No. It's every day, and we talk about how are we going to make a difference so our community is a better place.''

One nursery contained 150 seedlings and two other nurseries each contained 50 seedlings.

Ten different native tree species were planted, including Washington hawthorn, black locust, red maple, red mulberry, red oak, English oak and serviceberry.

"Arbor Day is about planting trees,'' said John Horan, executive director of the Erie Housing Authority. "We lose trees every year. This is one way to make sure we have trees for the next generation.''

Children ages 9 through 14 participated in Friday's tree-planting activities.

Horan said the project cost about $6,000, which included purchasing 1,000 seedlings, tree posts and fencing.

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie donated $3,000 to the project, Horan said.

Horan said another 750 seedlings will be planted this year at three other Erie Housing Authority sites.