Legacy Tree Project reaches goal of planting one tree for every Staunton City Schools student

Ware Elementary School 4th graders help fill dirt on a tree outside Shelburne Middle School as...
Ware Elementary School 4th graders help fill dirt on a tree outside Shelburne Middle School as part of the Staunton Legacy Tree Project.(WVIR)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 8:16 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - The Staunton Legacy Tree Project is celebrating a big accomplishment. It reached its goal of planting one tree for every student in Staunton City Schools. The community marked this milestone Friday morning outside Shelburne Middle School.

“We did it. We planted 2,746 trees in just one single year,” Georgi Tomisato with Shenandoah Green said.

Like any big accomplishment, the Staunton Legacy Tree Project started with an idea. This one came from former Mayor Carolyn Dull.

Shenandoah Green, a grassroots organization committed to creating a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, took that idea to the schools.

“And we were like ‘wow that is a very ambitious project,’ but it was exciting,” Ruth Jones Turner, the Staunton City Schools director of strategic planning and partnerships, said.

Shenandoah Green did it.

“The only reason it happened in one year is because people believed in the Staunton Legacy Tree Project,” Tomisato said.

It’s all thanks to grants, donations, volunteers, and a task force focused on the goal.

“This project is a beautiful gift to our students, our schools, to the entire Staunton community,” Jones Turner stated.

It’s one that will last for generations to come. “Trees will help reduce the effects of rising temperatures, pollution in the air, flooding, and urban heat islands,” Tomisato said.

The trees will help sustain life, but in a poem called “Think Like a Tree,” read by Ware Elementary School 4th grader Bella Tinsley, trees also offer an example of how to live.

“Soak up the sun. Affirm life’s magic. Be grateful in the wind. Stand tall after a storm,” Tinsley read.

While planting 2,746 trees was a huge undertaking Tomisato says the real work is caring for them.

“As the Lorax would say -- plant a tree, treat it with care, give it clean water and feed it fresh air,” Tomisato said.

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