Some of Beaufort's smallest residents have a big message and big plans for Arbor Day.
Riverview Charter School first-graders have been learning about tree and plant life cycles this year, and more than 70 will be dancing and singing about those lessons at 11 a.m. Friday in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, part of a joint celebration with the city of Beaufort.
"They are so excited about performing," teacher Lisa Clancy said about her students' enthusiasm for the show, "How Does Your Garden Grow?"
"We have five songs, and there's scarecrows and tomatoes and carrots and dancing carrots that sing."
First-grader Caylin Gecy ticked off on her fingers all the things plants need to grow:
"Soil, water, sun, air, space."
Trees are important, Caylin and her friends agreed as they talked about the plans for Friday.
"Trees can make you breathe, and if there's no trees, you can't breathe," Max Pfiefer said.
"And they make paper," Caylin added.
"And they make wood," Erik James chipped in.
"And pencils," Max interjected. "Trees make pencils, too."
"They make houses for owls," Zien Mitchell said after a little thinking.
After the show, city officials and the children will go to the Spanish Moss Trail to plant two magnolia trees purchased by the city, a magnolia purchased by Palmetto Garden Club, and three Japanese red maple trees donated by Randall's Lawnmower Equipment Sales and Service, according to city landscape architect Liza Hill.
The children also will plant saplings provided by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service in Beaufort, which is continuing its tradition of giving away native bare-root seedlings to residents.
Families can pick up as many as five trees, and Master Gardeners will give planting tips and help choose between persimmon, dogwood, redbud, oak, crabapple and longleaf pine.
The seedlings can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday at the extension office, 102 Beaufort Industrial Village Road, Beaufort. For information, call 843-255-6060 or email Lrose@clemson.edu.
The Beaufort Garden Club is planning a special tribute, in honor of both the day and longtime member Marion Leach.
Leach, now an honorary club member, lives at the Summit Place of Beaufort assisted-care center, and club members plan to plant a tree on the grounds Friday as a tribute to Leach's contributions over the years, president Roberta McNally said.
Play rehearsal video:
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.