Nurturing stewardship, fruitful gift to kids

Last week, Elkhorn students received a living gift that will teach them the value of trees, and hopfully provide them with delicious fruit too.

With the help of the Elkhorn and Area Foundation, Assiniboine West shed District (AWWD) purchased apple trees from the local garden centre - Westwood Ranch Garden Centre, and gave them to Grade 5 students from the Elkhorn School.

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Manager for AWWD Ryan Canart stated, “We believe this is a great way to teach the importance of trees in our community, especially fruit bearing trees as well as a sense of ownership and responsibility to care for and keep the tree healthy.”

On May 19, students heard a presentation from Canart on the benefits of trees within the community and the watershed. He provided a planting demonstration along with an apple tree for each student to take home.

Some of the interesting tree facts they learned were: 

  • One large tree can produce enough oxygen four people, daily
  • We use products that come from trees daily including food, fuel, fibre and medicines
  • One large tree can move 100 gallons of water per day from the soil to the air – playing an important roll in the hydrological cycle
  • Shelterbelts can save 25% of a prairie building’s heating and cooling costs annually
  • An acre of trees can store up to 2.5 tons of carbon annually, pulling CO2 from the air helping to combat climate change

The students also signed a “Tree Care Contract” pledging to care for their tree.

These trees are a bit unique in that they have three varieties of apples grafted into one tree. They can therefor cross pollinate - only one tree is required to produce fruit. 

Canart says “These trees are a popular option for small yards and people that want multiple varieties of apples from one tree.” He added, “The Elkhorn Area Foundation has supported this project for several years now and we’re very grateful for the support.”

Gifting trees to school classes and involving students in local tree planting has been part of the watershed district’s ongoing education for over a decade.

Ryan Canart, Manager Assiniboine West Watershed District

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