Zia students celebrate Arbor Day

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Fourth-graders Heather Yen, from left, Destannee Vongsaphay and Anthony Mejia clap after the City of Clovis Parks and Recreation department planted a tree in Zia Elementary’s playground in celebration of Arbor Day.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

“Bad,” 56 fourth-grade voices raised in unison to answer a New Mexico State Forestry department representative’s question, “Are forest fires good or bad?”

Shannon Atencio and Lance Davisson from the New Mexico State Forestry department visited the fourth-grade classes at Zia Elementary Thursday to talk to the classes about trees in celebration of Arbor Day. The two talked to the students about the benefits of trees and forests.

The City of Clovis Parks and Recreation department also planted a tree in the school’s playground using a tree spade, a large machine that digs a hole in the ground and sets a tree in the space. Parks and Recreation Director Rob Carter said the city celebrates Arbor and Earth days each year by planting a tree at an elementary school in Clovis.

Principal Jarilyn Butler said the experience is good for the children.

“It’s a great thing for the kids to see,” Butler said about the operation of the machinery and the tree being planted.

Butler said the school lost a few trees due to the recent construction of a pick-up and drop-off loop in front of the school and they are glad to accept the tree the city brought them from Ned Houk Park.

Teacher Trudi Ford said the fourth-graders studied the environment and recycling and had recently visited the landfill, so the tree planting fit their curriculum well.