Greensboro Beautiful sharing love of trees with 5th-graders with dogwood seedling giveaway

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Greensboro Beautiful volunteers are responsible for some of Greensboro's iconic public gardens. And the group is once again working hard to put the green in Greensboro. Over 40 volunteers are working as a team to unwrap, spray and wrap again dogwood seedlings.

"When the volunteers get here, they are serious," Greensboro Beautiful Urban Forestry Co-Chair Randal Romie said. "They want to get busy and get it done and get it going."

Volunteers need to get going because Greensboro Beautiful wants 5,500 dogwood seedlings in the hands of Guilford County Schools fifth-graders by Friday. David Craft is a Greensboro Beautiful volunteer. He wishes he was back in the fifth grade so he could get a dogwood seedling.

"I think it's exciting to bring a tree home," Craft said. "It's a simple gesture but it lasts a very long time."

The dogwood seedling giveaway marks the beginning of Greensboro Beautiful's 50th Anniversary celebration. Along with handing out 5,500 seedlings, you need 5,500 cups for the seedlings to sit in. Plus there's 215 bags of dirt to fill the cups and 422 crates that will hold the small dogwood trees while they grow in fifth-grade classrooms. It's a massive effort for Greensboro Beautiful volunteers. But they do it because they want to share the love of trees and the outdoors with youngsters.

"This is our future," Romie said. "We need these fifth-graders to know the other side besides technology and to be outside and the benefits of clean air."

Plus the dogwood distribution fits perfectly with the fifth grade study of ecosystems. Students are learning how we depend on trees and how trees depend on us. That's why volunteer and Rotary International executive member Slade Lewis is helping to sort and bag thousands of tiny trees.

"We care about the educational aspects of this program and helping fifth-graders understand how trees grow and the importance of new trees to help preserve our planet," Lewis said. "So it's a win-win for everybody."

The fifth-graders will study and observe the tiny dogwood seedlings for five to six weeks. Then the students will plant their trees at home. If a child doesn't have a yard, they can give their tree to the school or donate it to a neighbor or group that will care for the tree.