Weather Forecast


'Green for Life' teaches kids about trees

Teresa Ohm, with Flying W Gardens, and Bert Swanson, with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, plant a tree for kindergartners Thursday at Park Rapids Century School. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
A classroom of kindergartners learns that trees give them oxygen to breath along with food, shelter and shade from Teresa Ohm. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

Park Rapids kindergartners learned about the many ways trees provide food, oxygen and shelter for "Green for Life."

The Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association initiated a statewide "Green for Life" day of service Thursday, Sept. 22.

Members of MNLA organized volunteer tree-planting projects at schools in communities across the state, including in Park Rapids.

Teresa Ohm, with Flying W Gardens, gave presentations to all Century Elementary kindergartners and planted a linden tree on school grounds.

"What do trees give us?" Ohm asked a classroom of students.

"Apples," one boy shouted out.

Others said paper or food.

Ohm explained that one of the most important things trees give is oxygen.

"Trees are the longest living organism," she added. "The world's oldest tree is 4,600 years old."

She told students about several different occupations involving trees. She works at a nursery and landscaping business, which grows trees and plants them. An arborist helps to heal trees, she said.

Kindergartners learned about other environmental benefits of trees:

n Deciduous trees planted near buildings provide shade in the summer, which reduces the temperature of the building, and therefore reduces the cost of cooling. In the winter, when the tree's leaves have fallen, the sun can shine through the branches and provide warmth to the building.

n Evergreen trees can be planted strategically to act as a windbreak, which reduces heating costs in a home and also helps mitigate soil erosion from wind.

n Trees help clean the air by intercepting airborne particles, and absorbing pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Trees also convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.

n Trees reduce stormwater runoff with their elaborate root systems. Trees' roots also help to stabilize the soil and prevent soil erosion.

n Trees muffle noise almost as effectively as stonewalls. Trees planted at strategic points in a neighborhood or around your house can abate major noises from businesses, roads, and airports.

Real estate values increase when trees beautify a property or neighborhood. Trees and landscaping can increase the property value of a home by up to 15 percent.

Flying W Gardens is a member of Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. MNLA represents the state's $2.1 billion green industry, which is comprised of thousands of locally-owned companies that grow, design, install, and maintain plants and other landscape features in the outdoor living environment.

MNLA's "Green for Life" project planted trees at over 100 schools across the state Thursday.

For more information about the benefits of trees, plants and other environmentally-beneficial landscape features, see

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561