Students at Cunniff School returned from Spring Break to find a new addition to the school – a dwarf apple tree.
The tree was planted as part of Watertown Tree Warden Chris Hayward’s Arbor Day program. Trees have been planted at schools around town for the past several years, Hayward said.
“The tree will get about 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide,” Hayward said. “And it will bear fruit.”
On Friday, the whole school came out to the courtyard to see the new tree and get an Arbor Day gift of their own. Each student got a sapling to take home and plant in their garden.
Hayward explained the importance of trees to the Cunniff students.
“When we breathe out, what do we make – carbon dioxide,” Hayward said. “Trees breathe it in and we want oxygen and trees breathe that out.”
Hayward told the children that he also plants about 100 trees a year around Watertown and people can request to have trees planted in front of their house. They just have to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students will use the tree as part of their lessons, said parent Joy Lamberton Arcolano, who is the Cunniff PTO coordinator for the school garden. It will be used in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) program.
“We picked a tree that students can draw it all year long to see how it changes,” Lamberton Arcolano said.
A sitting area will be created around the tree using logs so students have a place to view and contemplate the tree, she added.
The school got another addition to spiff up their garden.
“Mrs. Barry said how would you feel about enrolling another student,” said Cunniff Principal Mena Ciarlone. “I said we already have 313 students and she said, what about a gnome?”
The gnome has been named Phillipe and he is riding a frog called Fred, said fourth-grade teacher Barbara Barry.
“Every week my class will write a poem and put it out on the gnome,” Barry said. “He’s the poem gnome.”
The gnome will go in the Beverly DiMascio Butterfly Reading Garden in the front of the school. The garden is a memorial to the long-time Cunniff teacher who died in 2011.