Paris Elementary students plant Norwegian pine saplings at Anschutz Medical Campus

By Chris Casey | University Communications

AURORA, Colo. – After a long, hot walk and some digging in the dirt, fourth-grader Ileana surveyed her class’s landscaping work with satisfaction.

“They’re going to get really big!” she said of the 35 sapling Norwegian pines planted Tuesday afternoon at Montview and Victor streets on the northeast corner of the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Thirty-five fourth-graders and two teachers from Aurora Public School’s Paris Elementary walked two miles from their school, just west of the Anschutz Medical Campus, to do the planting.

Scenes from Paris fourth-graders’ tree planting:

Paris is a science pathway school that participates in the Aurora LIGHTS program. The fourth-graders are in partnership with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said Paris teacher Susan Rietveld.

“For Arbor Day, we were given 60 trees — one for each student in the fourth grade — and we wanted to see who we could donate them to,” Rietveld said. The school offered them to Anschutz Medical Campus as well as a nearby Ronald McDonald House.

Billy enjoyed the planting, which was aided by members of the Facilities Management who shoveled fresh topsoil onto the square-shaped plot. “It’s fun because we got to have a journey from school, but it was difficult (work),” Billy said.

Del Quiel, assistant director of Facilities Management, told the other Paris teacher, Mitch Davison, that the planting “will definitely make a difference right here for now.”

Quiel said the corner plot will be used as a nursery. The Norwegian pines will be moved to other parts of the campus once they grow larger.

“We’ve had this area for a while, and we hoped programs like this would show up and use it,” he said.

The trees were given to Paris Elementary by an employee of Fitzsimons Credit Union in Aurora. Rietveld said it was nice to be able to turn that generous gesture into the school’s own philanthropy project. The project was also educational for the kids, she said, since some of them had never planted a tree before.

“This is a good opportunity for them,” she said. “They can come back in the years to come and say, ‘Hey, I planted those trees in this neighborhood.'”

(Photo: Paris Elementary students plant Norwegian pine saplings at Anschutz Medical Campus.)

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