This year, Keep Akron Beautiful is heading out to the fourth grade classrooms with a new and improved Arbor Day presentation. Volunteer Patty Riggs spent the summer putting together new lesson plans so that each fourth grade science educator in Akron will receive their very own binder that aligns with their fourth grade curriculum. Educational Specialist, Pam Ray brings these lesson plans to life by visiting the classrooms and spending time talking about the importance of Arbor Day. Pam shared that, “A lot of teachers are excited about these lesson plans; they are more challenging and interesting than the past.” This spring marks the 27th year that Pam has been delivering these presentations, and Pam continues to update her lesson plans to suit the needs of her students. One change that her students are particularly excited about this year is that the seedling that each school receives will be a fruit tree, as opposed to other species that have been donated in the past. Students were also told about the upcoming Arbor Day Slogan Contest, in which they will be able to participate by submitting their own slogan to express how important Arbor Day is to the community.
According to Pam, the greatest thing about visiting classrooms is being around the children, and watching them learn. “Seeing their expressions and hearing all of their new questions always makes me smile,” stated Pam.
Communication interns Willa Neale and Jamie VanAman were along for the ride and get their own Arbor Day education, Keep Akron Beautiful style.
I was able to observe Pam Ray in action on February 17, 2016. When I entered the classroom at Forest Hill CLC, I was amazed to see how attentive each of the young students seemed to be. All of them appeared to be fascinated by the history of Arbor Day and the facts that Pam shared with them. They listened carefully as Pam taught them about the different types of trees that can be found near the public schools as well as some favorite city locations, such as Lock 2 and Lock 3, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens and EJ Thomas Hall. After the presentation, student’s hands shot up in the air to participate in her game of Arbor Day Jeopardy. It was exciting to see how engaged the fourth graders were, and I enjoyed being able to see their passion for the environment grow.
When I was able to observe the Arbor Day presentation on February 19, 2016 at McEbright CLC, I was excited to help teach the students about the holiday. Pam Ray did an amazing job engaging the fourth graders and helping them understand what Arbor Day is all about. I did not expect each child to be so attentive and eager to participate, and many of the children already knew quite a lot of information about trees, Arbor Day, and the environment. It made me so happy to see that these children genuinely cared about the community they lived in and watch their faces light up when they heard that they were each going to get to plant their own tree!
Pam Ray’s Arbor Day adventures have only just begun!