Tree sale educates students

Funds go toward education-related programs

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Money doesn't grow on trees, but it can be made from them.

That's a lesson Steamboat Springs Middle School teacher Matt Tredway learned more than a decade ago and continues to apply each spring for the middle school's award-winning annual tree sale and planting program.

But more than simply raising money for various education-related programs, the tree sale and planting program combines community service, science curriculum and environmental stewardship, Tredway said Monday.

"It's a win-win on every count," Tredway said. "We're just psyched to get more trees in Steamboat."

The 11th annual middle school tree sale continues through the end of April, during which anyone interested in purchasing aspens, cottonwoods, flowering crab apples, spruces, piñion pines, ponderosa pines and lilacs of various sizes and prices can place an order through Tredway or fellow middle school teacher Jeff Keller. All trees will be delivered to the middle school parking lot in early May. Volunteers, including students, will help load the trees into the vehicles of those who purchased them.

Students are involved in all aspects of the tree sale, from marketing and ordering to accounting and delivery, Tredway said. The sale is also connected to a tree ecology unit Tredway teaches to his students. Classroom knowledge of trees is combined with a practical knowledge of them when students plant trees around the middle school and in other community areas. Tredway often purchases additional trees during the sale so he and students can plant them in public places.

"It's kind of cool for the kids to see the growth in the trees they've planted," he said. "They'll remember that way longer than the one day I taught them about trees in class."

The tree sale and planting program was given the 2003 Colorado Tree Coalition CommuniTree Award -- the first school to receive the honor.

Most of the proceeds from this year's tree sale will go toward Tredway's Everything Outdoor Steamboat recreational program for middle school students. EOS aims to introduce students to outdoor recreation activities such as rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking and mountaineering. Through EOS, teachers such as Tredway and Keller lead groups of students on one- or multi-day trips that cost students little or no money. Tredway hopes the EOS program will inspire students to develop a lifelong passion for outdoor activities as well as improve their mental and physical health.

Tree sale proceeds also will be used to help some students pay tuition for the Yampa Valley Science School fall education program. Proceeds also could be used for other school-related programs and donated to various community agencies, Tredway said. The sale typically raises about $8,000.

For more information or to place an order, call Tredway at 871-3568 or Keller at 871-3534.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234 or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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