Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brewer Elementary Kids Hear What's Cool about Trees, Plants; and the Mudsters, Treetures and Bella Butterfly Told Them

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brewer Elementary Kids Hear What's Cool about Trees, Plants; and the Mudsters, Treetures and Bella Butterfly Told Them

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

The Treetures, the Mudsters and Bella Butterfly have a message for kids.

Trees and plants rock.

The giant costumed characters brought their campaign to a recent assembly at Don Brewer Elementary School in Arlington. Four organizations - Greenscape of Jacksonville, Tree Hill Nature Center, JaxPort and JEA - have banded together to bring books, trees and a butterfly garden to the school, which has students in third through fifth grades.

Greenscape, a nonprofit tree-planting organization, kicked off its book giveaway project by donating two Treetures books to Brewer's third-grade classes. With the help of a state grant, Greenscape plans to donate two books to every third-grade classroom in Duval County, said Executive Director Anna Dooley.

The books are Judith Blau's Welcome Spring, in which Twigs takes a new class of Sprouts to Nutley Grove to watch the Treetures get an apple tree ready for its first blossom, and Meet the Mudsters, focusing on natural decay in the forest and compost opportunities.

As part of another project, butterflies will soon be winging their way to the school. Tree Hill and JaxPort joined forces in the planting of a butterfly garden near the flagpole.

Principal Marianne Lee said she wanted something that students could work on from year to year, that would beautify the school and educate them about the life cycle of a butterfly. Some kids were so enthused they volunteered to water the plants every day, Lee said.

But the greenery didn't stop there. JEA forester Mike Robinson helped the students plant 17 trees, 40 oleanders and other shrubs. He talked to them about the different species, how often to water them, how deep a hole to dig and how much mulch was needed.

One tree, a loblolly bay, had special significance, Lee said. It was planted in memory of Luna Huynh, a third-grader who died in January after an artery to her heart became infected. …

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