The children were gathered on the asphalt of the lower playground Tuesday morning, waiting to dig holes for the trees standing by around campus.
“You ready to get a little dirty?” asked Shelley Billik, vice president of environmental initiatives at Warner Bros.
“Yeah!” the children shouted in unison, and they were off.
Each classroom got to name their own tree as they dug the holes.
Some groups also got a quick lesson on photosynthesis and the life of the tree they were planting as well as what kind of tree it was and how big it would it grow.
In tight circles, the students stared at the earth as each waited for their turn with the shovel.
“It’s one leg, not two, Stephanie,” 8-year-old Seun Aderonmu, told fellow student Stephanie O’Brien, who put both feet up on the shovel to push it into the ground.
Some students were naturals, gripping the shovels and flipping brown soil out of the hole, and others had a little trouble. But every one of them was enthused.
“It comes very naturally to children to dig, to observe bugs,” Billik said. “And hands-on learning is really the best way for them to understand the natural world.”
The tree planting was also a lesson in conservation for the children, Billik said.
“I guess today is about teaching our children an environmental ethic,” she said. “The importance of protecting natural resources and restoring nature.”
Some of the classrooms that planted trees on campus will use the plants as learning tools and refer to them in their lesson plans, she said.
The trees were also planted strategically to give shading to classrooms and air-conditioning units that have been exposed to the sun, Baudo said.