As recipients of the 2020 Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) program, Parkway Elementary received five large hardwood trees for their campus. The STOP program, an initiative of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, began 18 years ago to help lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight on school playgrounds. The STOP program also provides teachers with a full curriculum about the environmental benefits of trees, how shade reduces skin cancer risks, and tips for keeping trees healthy.
In the week leading up to the tree planting ceremony, each class created a banner to emphasize the environmental benefits of trees. On Friday, December 4, students and staff participated in a virtual Tree Planting Ceremony led by Regine Skelton and Kristine Kimbro Thomason from the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Bryant Mayor Allen Scott attended as a special guest.
Winners of the Tree Banner Contest planted the trees as Arkansas Forestry Commission representatives supervised. Thanks to the donation of an extra tree by River Valley Horticultural Products, each grade level was able to plant a tree.
“We want to thank the Arkansas Forestry Commission for not only providing the trees, but educating us on how to care for them. Parkway is fortunate to receive these trees for our playground. As they grow and mature, many generations of students will benefit from the shade they provide,” said Michele Lewis, principal.