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Area residents enjoy getting down to earth

April 30, 2006|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va.

Students, teachers and family members celebrated Earth Day on Friday at Pleasant View Elementary School in eastern Morgan County.

Christy Rusnak, the school's Parent-Teacher Organization president, said about 40 children and 62 parents participated in the Earth Day celebration, which included debris and brush cleanup on the school grounds, weeding and mulching the playground area and flower beds, spreading soil on the ball field, planting pine trees and creating a butterfly garden.

Rusnak said it was a parent volunteer project, and the Earth Day celebration "teaches our kids to be good citizens and to take care of the earth. They are the future caretakers of the earth," she said.

At an afternoon assembly, Herb Peddicord, Morgan County service forester for the West Virginia Division of Forestry, spoke to the students on the importance of planting trees and what trees do for the environment.

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Peddicord said as part of the county's tree planting initiative, all of the third-grade students in the county received loblolly pine trees. The tree seedlings were donated by the New Page Corporation of Luke, Md.

Peddicord showed the students how to plant trees by planting a redbud tree in front of the school's new wooden fence that faces W.Va. 9.

Chris Breeden, 11, a fourth-grade student at Pleasant View, was helping his parents weatherproof the fence.

"It is important to take care of the earth, to pick up trash and avoid pollution," Chris said.

"We try our best to teach our children what God has given us," said Chris' mother, Danielle Breeden.

Lois Walton and Pat Crowl, Morgan County Master Gardeners, helped create the butterfly garden that will be used for outdoor teaching, Walton said.

In addition to the butterfly bushes, other shrubs and flowers such as lilacs, sunflowers and coneflowers will be planted, as well as parsley, dill and carrots - all food plants for the caterpillar. Border plants include zinnias, marigolds and hollyhocks, Walton said.

Some plants were started from seeds that the students planted in starter flats, said Walton, who also is a PASS (Providing Academic and SelfEsteem Support) volunteer at the school.

Walton said the fencing around the garden was donated by Dawson's Home Center in Berkeley Springs, and the Master Gardeners made a $500 donation toward the garden.

Rusnak said Essroc Cement Corp. in Martinsburg, W.Va., provided free T-shirts for the event, as well as Earth Day bracelets and pledge cards that were given to the students at an assembly. Essroc also provided the gravel for the bus parking lot.

"It's my favorite part of my job to talk with kids about taking care of our environment," said Mark Andrews, Essroc's environmental engineer.

Sharon Henry, a substitute teacher at Pleasant View, was weeding with her two children, one who still attends the school.

"If you are going to be a substitute teacher and a parent, it doesn't get any better than this," Henry said.

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