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A strong growth spurt

Students at Bret Harte Elementary plant 18 trees donated by Warner Bros. Studios.

November 15, 2008|By Natalie Yemenidjian

Three Bret Harte Elementary School students crouched over a two-foot hole in the school’s playground Wednesday morning. After examining the hole’s depth, and the squirming worms that inhabited it, they began to dig.

The rest of the second-grade class peered over the diggers’ shoulders, while a groundskeeper for the Burbank Unified School District and volunteers from Warner Bros. Studios prepared to plant one of 18 donated trees.

Wednesday marked the eighth year Warner Bros. Studios has donated trees to schools in the Burbank school district in conjunction with the studios’ 15-year-old Environmental Initiatives department.


Groups of children huddled over about 12 mounds of dirt, where trees were to be transplanted.

“Trees help the environment,” said Uma Patil, 7, as she wiped her hands against her pants. “My favorite part was touching the rocks.”

For Lauren Pellot, 7, the dig was fun but dirty.

“I like this tree,” Lauren said as she pointed to the Chinese elm her second- grade class adopted. “They help us make air, and we help them grow.”

Michael Scott, a groundskeeper for the school district, encouraged the students to loosen the roots of the tree with their hands before it could be planted.

“You’ve got to free the roots so they can grow,” Scott said.

“Freedom!” students yelled as they rushed to the tree’s roots.

A flurry of small hands pulled and grabbed, yet they barely made a dent.

“I’ll show you all how it’s done,” Scott said.

He began to release the roots with a shovel the size of the average second-grader.

After the students successfully planted their tree, Erika Bruno, a volunteer from Warner Bros. Studios, told the children to name it.

“Washington,” yelled out one student.

“Mr. Oxygen Tree,” said another.

Although the students could not reach a consensus for the tree’s title, they did make one very important decision.

“We’ve decided to name the worm Jello,” Bruno said.

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