Treasuring trees in Skaneateles

A group of third graders from State Street Elementary did not have to stay in the classroom to learn about Arbor Day on Friday, Apr. 25. Instead, they were able to see first hand how trees are taken care of by Bartlett Tree Experts.

The students are a part of the Horizens program at State Street Elementary according to Horizens teacher Kelley McQuiggan. This is an enrichment program for students who qualify based on high test scores and gives them some more challenging things to work on she said. The group comes out every year according to Michael Gorham, Arborist Representative from Bartlett Tree Experts.

"This is our ninth year doing this program and the kids have been coming for eight years," said Gorham, "They always have different questions and always seem to amaze me."

The idea is to teach the students why trees are important and how they can be taken care of said Gorham. They learn about the different tools that can be used to help tree and even get to see some branches run through the wood chipper. This is usually the highlight of the show said Gorham.

"We just want the kids to have a respect for trees," said Gorham, "We see trees everyday and we need to know how to take care of them."

The students were able to see Gorham and foreman Greg Skellington work on a large pine tree in the park across from the Sherwood in the village. Skellington climbed up into the tree and cut off several branches that were not getting enough light according to Gorham. The students were transfixed as Skellington used a chain saw and a hand saw to cut the branches off the tree while he dangled from a piece of rope.

Gorham allowed the third graders to try on a couple of hard hats while they watched the branches fall. He said Bartlett always picks a tree in the park in village to work on for free. The trees need to be worked on for their health and also for safety of the patrons of the park according to Gorham. He said it is then fun for the kids and also a great way to celebrate Arbor Day with the village.

"We do this for free as a thank you to the village for all the business we get," said Gorham.

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