Sixth-graders promote trees

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— If trees had cheerleaders, they would be a troop of sixth-grade students from Hayden Middle School.

Armed with yardsticks and Global Positioning System units, the students took to the streets last month to note tree varieties, tree health, locations and other information. Their survey will help the town become a Tree City U.S.A. through the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The young tree advocates explained their findings to the Hayden School Board on Wednesday, after an energetic presentation of arbor-inspired poems and rap songs.

The sixth-graders documented 479 trees downtown, including varieties of willow, poplar, elm maple, spruce and fruit trees. They impressed School Board members with an elaborate PowerPoint presentation listing pros and cons and other information about each variety.

Students revealed that the fattest tree, or the tree that would make the best tree house, is in Town Park. Its circumference is almost 30 feet, they said.

Many of the cottonwoods that comprise an important segment of Hayden's tree inventory are nearing the end of their 100-year lifespan. The Tree City designation, in addition to helping the town maintain healthy trees, will help the town develop a plan to replace the aging trees.

The sixth-graders will present their survey to the Hayden Town Board tonight.

Also Wednesday, school administrators reported teachers are developing intervention strategies aimed at students who need extra help as well as students who need more academic challenge.

Many of the strategies involve setting aside time for teachers to work individually with students.

In other business:

The board approved the final 2005-06 budget.

Administrators reported school activities next week will commemorate Red Ribbon Week, a national event aimed at encouraging drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles.

Superintendent Mike Luppes reported the Hayden School District has applied for an Energy and Mineral Impact grant for concrete work at Hayden Valley Elementary School to improve intercom systems and replace door locks and clocks in the schools.

The board approved a procedure for hiring substitute teachers. The policy requires all substitutes to have a current Colorado Teaching License or substitute authorization and that all substitute employees' references are checked.

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