Arbor Day brings out green thumb in all

Friday was a busy day for green thumbs throughout Skaneateles as Arbor Day events were underway at the schools and for individual families in the community.

The making of a junior arborist

The day started out with a brisk lakeside demonstration from Kelley McQuiggan's third-graders as they learned the basics of tree pruning with Mike Gorahm and Sean Miller, both arborists with Bartlett Tree Experts.

"He talks about Arbor Day and caring for trees," McQuiggan said of Gorham's presentation.

"I start out with the kids talking about all of the benefits of trees and then spend some time talking about why they're important," Gorham said. "We show them all the gear."

Along with talking about trees, the duo from Bartlett Tree Experts also demonstrated the proper technique for climbing a tree to trim the branches and then how the company uses a big chipper hooked to the back of a bucket truck to grind up the branches.

"Everything that we trim, we climb," Gorham said to the group.

Not only is a 120-foot rope used in the process, but there are other pieces of climbing equipment that is also used for rock climbing. The arborists use a variety of knots to keep the rope from sliding, much like Boy Scouts learn how to tie.

After showing the students the ropes used in tree pruning, Gorham showed the excited bunch the chipper.

"Inside here there's a steel wheel, and it spins," he said.

Miller turned on the unit and let 'er rip -- or chip -- as students stared starry-eyed at the machine and covered their ears to shield them from the loud noise. The mulch that is created from grinding up tree limbs can be used around plants and other trees to provide nutrients to the soil, Gorham said.

McQuiggan's class said the demonstration and trees in general were "cool" and "awesome." According to Gorham, now they are all junior arborists and can go home to tell their families all about trees.

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