By Dr. Curtis Varnell
Area students are busy this fall planting Black Tupelo trees in their school yards as well as at home. Amber Cobb and Dr. Curtis Varnell, science specialist at the Guy Fenter Education coop were able to work with the national Trees For Little People foundation and to obtain young sapling trees for area students to plant as part of National Arbor Day, which this year, is celebrated in the fall due to COVID-19.
Trees for Little People is a nonprofit organization which works to provide educational materials about the value of forest to young students. The organization provides sapling trees as well as tree growing kits, lesson plans, and other materials to teachers in order to promote a lifelong appreciation of trees, natural processes, and life science to students across the nation.
GFESC received 500 Black Tupelo saplings and distributed them to area schools. Many of the schools received enough trees to plant one or more in the school yard and then provide a sample for every child to take home and plant.
Black Tupelo is a native tree that provides cover and food for birds and honey bees. The tree will eventually grow up to forty foot in height and turns a beautiful dark red color as the leaves change in the fall. The trees the students plant today will still be there providing shade, beauty, and animal shelter when the child reaches adulthood.
Area teachers and schools participating in the program included Shannon Gattis of County Line, Georgia Littleton of Booneville, Christy McClellan of Hackett, Cheryl Ivey of Paris, Leann Atchley of Waldron, Lance Holt and Suzanne Kellogg of Magazine, Lori Casey of Ozark, and Missy Stubblefield of Charleston.
For years to come, five hundred fiery red Tupelo will grace the Arkansas River Valley as a result of our schools participation in Trees for Little People.