SGSC Partners with Broxton Elementary to Celebrate Arbor Day

Submitted by Sarah Braswell, STEM Center Coordinator - Waycross

“Wow! It’s a leaf!  I’m KING OF THE LEAVES!” shouted one kindergarten student as he saw the details of a leaf beginning to emerge from his leaf rubbing.  This, and other exclamations of excitement and wonder, was heard all around last Friday as South Georgia State College’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Center partnered with Broxton Mary-Hayes Elementary School to celebrate Arbor Day.

Arbor Day is celebrated annually throughout the nation as a day to reflect on the role trees play in our lives. It was first celebrated in 1872, and it is traditionally celebrated by the planting of trees.  While each state typically chooses their own day for Arbor Day (depending upon when the growing season starts in the state), National Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April.

The SGSC-Broxton Arbor Day celebration included three stations: leaf rubbing, tree planting, and story time.  Faculty, staff, and students from SGSC volunteered to share their love for science and nature with the students.  At least one SGSC employee and several SGSC students volunteered at each station.  Every class of students, from pre-K to 6th grade, took a turn at each of the stations. Thanks to SGSC volunteers, more than 350 students enjoyed the Arbor Day Celebration.

“My favorite part was the coloring, ‘cause I liked seeing the leaf come through and doing it with all different colors,” said one student. 
“The book was fantastic!  It was a great pick – especially since it was a true story!  I will have to buy that for my niece,” said a teacher.
“The guy with the beard was my favorite.  He’s cool, and I like to dig in the dirt!” another student said of the Douglas STEM Center Coordinator, Andrew Williams, who ran the tree planting station.

This Arbor Day Celebration was coordinated by Waycross STEM Center Coordinator, Sarah E. Braswell, under the direction of Amber Wheeler, Director of Academic Success at SGSC, and in partnership with Allyson Speight, Principal of Broxton Mary-Hayes Elementary School.

“I think the day was great!  We all loved being able to come out and share with the students something we are so passionate about!  We knew we wanted to plant trees--I mean, it is ARBOR Day, after all--but we also wanted to do something a little more, so we decided to have the three different activities.  The tree-planting station let the students (literally!) get their hands dirty; the leaf rubbing station gave the students something they could take home; and the book-reading station, well, it’s always good to read a book!  I was especially excited about the two we picked: The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward for the younger grades and The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins for the older grades,” shared Sarah E. Braswell, event coordinator.

SGSC wants to thank the community sponsors that helped make the celebration possible: Jay Bennett with Ware County FFA for donating the four chestnut oak trees that were planted and Broxton Hardware for donating the four bags of potting mix.

Arbor Day