Bluffton Elementary students helped plant live oaks in front of their school Friday, part of a $5,000 Waste Management grant to the town of Bluffton that will add 16 trees at all Bluffton-area public schools.
The town partnered with the Beaufort County School District on the project to celebrate Arbor Day and to teach students about the value of trees in an urban setting.
"Trees are such an important part of our quality of life, as they moderate temperatures, clean the air, filter the water, produce oxygen and provide habitat for our wildlife," Mayor Lisa Sulka said. "We are so pleased we have received a grant to further our efforts in promoting and protecting our natural surroundings."
The new trees include live oaks at Bluffton Elementary, the Early Childhood Center and H.E. McCracken Middle School; red maples at M.C. Riley Elementary School; drake elms at Bluffton High School; Leyland cypress at Bluffton Middle School; willow oaks at Pritchardville Elementary School; and -- fittingly -- red cedars at Red Cedar Elementary School.
"This is a great opportunity for the school district and the community to partner for the benefit of students," school board Chairman Bill Evans said in a news release. "Not only does it link the Bluffton community and the district, it also teaches our students and future community leaders the value of being good stewards of the environment and the aesthetic quality that such plantings bring to our everyday lives."
Bluffton has been designated a "Tree City" by Tree City USA, which recognizes cities and towns that maintain a tree board, pass a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.