Free Trees For Fourth Graders

Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Wisconsin DNR is offering free tree seedlings to every fourth-grade student in Wisconsin as part of the department’s annual Arbor Day tree planting program. Arbor Day is April 29.

Wisconsin fourth grade principals, teachers and those who homeschool can now place seedling orders and coordinate delivery by completing the 2022 Arbor Day application by March 15. Find it here: Farm assistant Aaron Zimmerman caught up with Heather Berklund, DNR Chief State Forester to talk about the program.

The DNR says planting seedlings from state nurseries is a great way to celebrate Arbor Day, which is dedicated to increasing the number of trees across the country to help improve the environment. Earlier this year, Gov. Tony Evers signed an Executive Order pledging to protect and restore Wisconsin’s forestland by planting 75 million trees by 2030 as part of the U.S. Chapter of the Global Trillion Trees Initiative. By ordering seedlings, you can help.

Annually, the DNR provides about 50,000 free tree seedlings to fourth-grade students statewide.

Seedlings come protected to keep backpacks clean and shipments include educational information on how to best plant and care for seedlings and trees.

Trees provide a variety of benefits to both people and the planet, explains DNR Chief State Forester Heather Berklund.

“They give off oxygen, trap carbon dioxide, feed and provide shelter for furry forest creatures and provide materials to build a variety of essential household items,” she says. “This program enables us to bring forest education directly to the hands of students and teach them about the importance of trees and of managing and restoring our forests.”

Arbor Day is a holiday during which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. The holiday originated in Nebraska in 1872 and is now celebrated nationally. Wisconsin’s Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April and is usually linked with Earth Day.