Christian Academy students receive lesson on seedlings

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By Christian Marnon

 Just as Mother Nature deploys numerous methods of seed dispersal to create new trees, Beverly McElwain of the Anderson County Conservation District scattered a new batch of burgeoning conservationists into the world Monday morning. 

“Young people make great conservationists,” said McElwain, who is also an advisor for the local Junior Conservation Board. “If we can make them understand the importance of nurturing the environment and conserving our natural resources, that will carry with them into adulthood.” 

McElwain demonstrated that approach firsthand with a classroom of fourth graders at the Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg on Monday. 

She began with a presentation on the various ways tree seeds are scattered throughout nature beyond deliberate planting. 

Students displayed a surprising knowledge of those methods without McElwain’s coaxing. 

The first student to raise their hand used the term “dispersal” before McElwain mentioned it. Others named off water, birds, foraging mammals, wind, and other, perhaps unconscious man-made methods, like dropping an apple core in a field. 

But McElwain’s presentation wasn’t a simple lecture. She distributed color-coded index card to each students to improvise and act out the various forms of dispersal, such as squirrels, wind, and birds.

McElwain concluded by revealing that each CAL fourth grader was gifted a year-old Persimmon tree.

Noted for scaly, thick, and dark black or grey bark and also its edible orange fruit with a sweet honey flavor similar to dates, Persimmon trees are native throughout Kentucky in dry woodland areas. 

The trees donated to the CAL students were carried over from a recent tree giveaway project, where the conservation district gave away 1,500 tree seedlings to the community. 

“We split the cost on the trees with ACE Hardware, but they donated the pots and the soil,” McElwain said.