At Tree Trust, learning about trees comes naturally. From the benefits of growing trees, to proper planting techniques, to studying about the various types of trees, there is always something new to discover about our community forests. We’re also committed to educating our volunteers, supporters, and students about the importance of the urban tree canopy.
Our tree planting events give local residents, students, and community volunteers the opportunity to learn about the environment and create positive change for generations to come. After all, trees provide many benefits! For example, aUniversity of Illinois study showed that schools with more trees on their school grounds scored higher in math and reading. Trees are also known for reducing stress, improving sleep and ability to focus, and increasing energy levels and physical activity. These are all great reasons to plant more trees, especially at schools. For 29 years, Tree Trust’s Learning with Trees™ program has brought hands-on environmental education to Minnesota schools.
What is the Learning with Trees™ Program?
Tree Trust’s Learning with Trees™ program is a free program for Minnesota elementary and middle schools, funded by foundation grants and corporate sponsorships. Schools may apply year-round to participate in this program; however, school selection depends on geographic location and sponsorship availability.
The Learning with Trees™ program offers engaging experiences with trees as a learning tool, both inside and outside the classroom, taking students beyond what might be learned in books or a science class. The program hopes to inspire the next generation of leaders to plant trees by providing hands-on learning that teaches students the benefits of trees.
Prior to the school-wide planting day, students gain an understanding and appreciation of trees in their community through the interactive traveling exhibit, “Our Town Trees.” Through this feature of the program, students learn about the benefits of community trees, integrating some science and environmental concepts, as they prepare to plant trees with their class. During the school-wide planting day, the school grounds transform into an outdoor classroom as students and volunteers work together to plant different kinds of trees found in North America and install benches. As they put what they have learned into practice, they create a valuable outdoor learning area where future students can learn about the natural world for generations to come.
In Their Own Words
In the spring of this year, schools selected for the Learning with Trees™ program excitedly experienced their school-wide planting day. Students eagerly lined up to dig their holes, ran to fill buckets of water and mulch, and planted many types of trees. Many students named their trees and look forward to watching them grow as they continue their years in school.
Teachers and staff also expressed their delight in the opportunity for their students to engage in hands-on learning. Jeff Radel, the principal at Glen Lake Elementary School in Minnetonka, was pleased both at the learning experience for his students and at how smoothly the process went. “It’s very important for our school to have trees and for our students to see the process of tree planting. We’re trying to get our students outdoors more and more every day, for outdoor education, outdoor experiences, play, and exercise… Tree Trust from the very start has partnered with us, creating our plans and identifying the process: putting the map into place, identifying which tree should go where [and] the benefits of this tree being in this location. It’s been really fun to work with Tree Trust!”
Retired teacher Lucy Lyons agreed. “One thing about watching kids learn at this age is that they really learn by their fingertips. It all needs to be hands-on to integrate the verbal and visual information that they’re also absorbing. To me, doing something about trees and the environment as a whole, pulls in absolutely everything that we have been learning about and gives it a purpose. Any school who is thinking of doing it, I say do it. It’s a great experience!”
Get Your School Involved
Tree Trust’s Learning with Trees™ program is an easy way to green your school grounds. Our expert Forestry staff will meet with you to talk about your vision for your school’s landscape and plan a school-wide tree planting day. Each landscape plan fits your school’s unique needs and we will also review future maintenance of the planted trees. Your students will love learning about the benefits of trees through the interactive traveling exhibit, “Our Town Trees,” together with a day of fun planting different kinds of trees with their class.