Krista Corner Havre Daily News email@example.com
Second-graders from Havre and across the Hi-Line will bring home trees throughout the week in celebration of Arbor Day courtesy of donations Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods IGA, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., the City of Havre, Culligan and Patrick Construction. Gary & Leo's meat cutter Randy Graves said the tree planting program has existed for 16 years. "When we first started, it was a national program and after they quit, we just kept doing it because it was so popular," said Graves. "Culligan supplies the milk jugs (for the trees), Patrick Construction gives us the dirt and every kid that plants a tree gets a bottle of water from Coke, a swimming pass from the city and a movie pass from Gary & Leo's." Elementary students, teachers and paraprofessionals from Lincoln-McKinley Primary School, filed into Pepin Park at 8:30 a.m. Monday to get a milk jug and write their name on it, pick out a tree, claim dirt to fill in around the tree, then plant and water their investment in tomorrow. Rocky Boy Elementary and St. Jude Thaddeus Schools also participated later Monday. Coordinators said the celebration will continue throughout the week with other classes. This morning, representatives from Coca-Cola, City of Havre, Gary & Leo's and community volunteers headed to North Star Elementary School. On Wednesday, the crew will travel to the Davey, Havre Christian and the Cottonwood West schools. The plan on Thursday is to visit the East End Colony and the Hartland Colony schools. Cottonwood North and Hilldale Colony schools will be the focus on Friday. "We don't go to Chester anymore, but we give them trees," Graves said. "They plant right behind their school usually. They're trying to develop some kind of wilderness park and they've been working at it a long time." Gary & Leo's purchases the trees from a nursery in Plains. "The trees are weatherized for Montana," he said. Graves added that the program has expanded over the years. "This should be our biggest planting about 300 second-graders," he said. "On average, we plant about 500 trees. This year, it will be more." "It's been an excellent program," he added. "The teachers like it because they can tie it into their school work. And it helps the City of Havre get the Tree City U.S.A. Award. This year will be the 17th year in a row." For more information on the Arbor Day treeplanting program, call Randy Graves at Gary & Leo's at 265-1404, Chris Inman at the City of Havre Parks & Recreation Department at 265-6710 or Keith Johnson at Coca-Cola at 265-6582.