East Central Energy (ECE) employees helped fourth graders at Braham Elementary School celebrate the start of Arbor Month May 3. Students eagerly participated in all aspects of tree planting, despite the cool, drizzly weather.
The cooperative provided a flowering crabapple tree for a site in front of their school. Students learned that the tree’s small stature and narrow crown made it appropriate for that location and why all species are not suitable for all sites. ECE’s Forestry Services team guided the students through the planting process, from digging the hole to backfilling, watering, mulching, and cleaning up the site.
“The opportunity to plant, celebrate and nurture trees is the purpose of Arbor Day and Arbor Month,” said ECE Forester Andy Olson. “We look forward each year to helping students in our service territory have that opportunity. We hope the experience encourages a new generation of students to plant trees wisely and care for them properly.”
Two storm-damaged mature basswood trees in front of the school allowed arborists from One Way Tree Service to demonstrate how hazardous branches are identified and removed. ECE contracts with One Way and other companies to manage trees and brush in the co-op’s power line corridors.
ECE emphasizes electrical safety during the celebration. Substation Construction Maintenance Supervisor Nick Koslowski and Fleet Supervisor Holly Giffrow-Bos used the co-op’s live tabletop display to explain the dangers present in electrical substations and the hazards associated with using ladders, flying kites and climbing trees near power lines. Students were reminded to stay away from downed power lines.
Principal Jeff Eklund wrapped up the celebration by reading the Arbor Day proclamation. ECE provided a Thunderchild Flowering Crabapple seedling to each student, along with tree planting information from the Arbor Day Foundation and the cooperative to help them plant wisely in the future.