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Ceremony Set for CPS Tree Plantings

Ken McLemore

HOPE – Five trees from the cypress, myrtle, maple, oak and poplar varieties will be planted on the playground at Clinton Primary School here Dec. 10 to inaugurate the Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) program at CPS.

Trees including a Baldcypress, Natchez Crape Myrtle, Red Maple, Shumard Oak and Yellow Poplar designated for the CPS playground on the north side of the campus will be planted in a 10 a.m. ceremony.

A contest among the classes at CPS will determine names for each tree with winning classes from each grade participating in the planting ceremony for their named tree. Kindergarten classes will name the Baldcypress, first grade the Shumard Oak, second grade the Tulip Poplar, third grade the Red Maple, and fourth grade the Crape Myrtle.

Students from the Agricultural Sciences class of Michael Henagan at Hope High School will participate in site preparation and tree planting, and Hempstead County Agricultural Extension Office Chair Terri James will provide educational materials for each grade. James will also represent the Hempstead County Master Gardeners at the event.

CPS is one of 15 schools statewide to receive the trees, which are intended to provide shaded rest for students and help limit the later risk of adult skin cancer.

The STOP program is the result of a 2002 initiative of the ADA Forestry Division Urban and Community Forestry program based upon American Cancer Society data from research showing children who are frequently or severely sunburned are more at risk in adult life to develop “malignant melanoma” skin cancer.

The trees were selected by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Urban and Community Forestry program of the ADA Forestry Division in consultation with CPS administration and Renee Sells, RN, Hope Public Schools District Nurse.

The STOP program provides up to five trees, mulch, watering supplies, planting guidelines and training as well as cross-curricular lessons for each school campus selected for the program. Periodic site visits by Forestry Division representatives also provide tree growth and health assessment.

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