A slight breeze rustles between the leaves high above at the top of the trees while the laughter and chatter of children grow in the distance. Down a path and deep into the thicket of greenery, anyone who stumbled across this celebration of nature would see something foreign and unexpected yet beautiful and innocent in its own unique way: a communing of youth and volunteers in the woods of St. Vincent Park, seated in the heart of the St. Louis suburb of Pagedale.

     Wednesday, April 26th, Beyond Housing’s forestry team organized an event for the newly-growing holiday, Arbor Day, where middle-school students and community members alike came together and worked, laughed, and learned. Arbor Day, a day of observance in which people are encouraged to learn about nature and take progressive action, dates back to the 16th century but was modernized in the 1950s. 

     7th and 8th-grade students from Barack Obama Elementary were able to take a field trip with their school to participate in Arbor Day activities with the forestry team.

     At this year’s Arbor Day event, students and volunteers participated in a variety of activities. From learning how to climb trees with a partner to being educated on the harm invasive species can have on local greenery to being able to plant their very own tree, the morning was filled with loads of laughter and lasting memories.

     Afterward, students came together with the volunteers, local mayors, and event facilitators to enjoy lunch in the park. Following lunch, everybody involved gathered to collectively plant a tree at St. Vincent Park dedicated to local community leader, Mayor Nancy Hartman of Bellerive Acres, who recently passed away. 

To learn more about the importance of trees and how they affect our everyday life, you can visit the Arbor Day Foundation website below.