Thursday, April 10, 2014

Astonishing Arbor Day - Then and Now!

28 years ago in 1986
Mrs. Ranney's  first grade class planted a little tree on the hill next to the lower yard in honor of
Arbor Day!
Photo by Mrs. Ranney (then Mrs. Pope)

Arbor (from the Latin meaning tree) Day  
is a holiday in which people are encouraged 
to plant and care for trees.

Our tree was donated to us by The Los Angeles Arboretum.
An arboretum is a botanical garden devoted to trees, of course!

The very first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872, 
 in Nebraska.

Today Arbor Day is observed at different times by different states in the United States. If you follow the link below the map, you can check to see when it is in our state, as well as the other 49!



That little tree that was lovingly planted  28 years ago,
has GROWN! 

This species of tree is a silk floss tree, a deciduous tree that is native to tropical forests in South America.
An interesting additional fact is that it is related to a 
kapok tree, a tree that is very special to our class because we've been reading The Great Kapok Tree recently!
 What do you think of our school's special tree?

Do you notice any interesting adaptations 
that this tree has?

What Arbor Day facts can you share? 

What facts about the silk floss tree or kapok tree can you share? 


  1. Dear Mrs. Ranney's Class,
    Thank you for sharing this neat fact about our school! Did you know this tree was planted the year I was born? It is incredible to see how much it has grown! I am going to share this with my students today so they know the history of this tree.
    Did you know that because of Arbor Day America has a national tree? Can you find out what it is?
    Mrs. Cioffi

    1. Dear Mrs. Cioffi,

      Thanks for commenting on our blog! We think it's amazing that you were born in the same year that the tree was planted, and we're so glad that you like our tree!

      When we first heard about the tree, we noticed that it has spikes.
      The spikes on the tree are a physical adaptation. Luc's mom shared a comment that taught us the spikes, or thorns, help the tree conserve water and protect it from animals who want to eat it!

      We did know that California has a state tree called the California redwood, but most of us did not know that we have a national tree. Elinor's sister, Roniel, who is in Mrs. Shipow's class taught her that the national tree is the oak tree. We also checked it out on the Arbor Day website to confirm the information.

      We hope you enjoyed reading our reply and that we hear from you again,

      Mrs. Ranney's Class

  2. Erin (Colin's mom)April 10, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney & Class -

    Wow! I did not know that story about the tree on the ramp leading to the lower yard! I attended Chaparral Elementary until 1985, so I missed the tree by 1 year. The part of the school in the picture looks similar to how it looks today, but so many parts of the school have changed so much! Did you know that the lower yard had no buildings? Just a giant grass field. At the upper yard had a playground where the cars park today, but no playground where the playground is today. The windows on the building near the middle parking lot are exactly the same.

    That was a fun trip down memory lane! I'm so glad Mrs. Ranney's class planted that tree in 1986. Is there any chance Mrs. Ranney's class could plant another in 2014? Then the kids in 2042 can enjoy it!


    Erin (Colin's mom)

    1. @Erin,
      Thank you so much for your response! It is interesting to reflect back on how our school used to be and all the changes that have occurred!

      I love your idea about planting another tree! Would you like to organize something for us! Let me know.

      Mrs. Ranney

    2. Erin (Colin's mom)April 12, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Dear Mrs. Ranney,

      I would be happy to organize something! I will look online to see about tree donations. If you have any ideas, please let me know. If we can't get a donation, maybe we could have a fundraiser to raise the money. Does anyone have any ideas for how to get a tree?

      Let's do it!

      Erin (Colin's mom)

  3. Hello Mrs. Ranney and class,

    Your Arbor Day post caught my attention and especially your information about the silk floss tree. I had some kapok information to share but also wanted to show you a photo I took back in 1986 when your tree was planted. It is of New Zealand's Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest.
    Here is the link so you can see the tree...

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

    1. Dear Mr. Mannell,

      Thank you so much for your comment and very educational post.
      We really enjoyed looking at the photos and learning some new facts.
      New Zealand's Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest, is an amazing tree!

      Mrs. Ranney's Class

  4. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    What a spectacular contribution you have made to our school! Mrs. Yollis often points out the tree when we walk to the computer lab. In fact, we just looked at it on Tuesday.

    We noticed something about the trunk of your tree. It has thorns all over it, which tells us that the tree does not want diners climbing up it. You mentioned that it is an exotic tree from South America, and we wonder what animals would attempt to eat the bark, the leaves, the flowers, and/or the fruit. What made you choose this type of tree?

    During the year, some of us have noticed it has lovely white and pink blossoms. When will the tree bloom again? We predict it will bloom in May.

    And now, a Haiku or two for you:

    Spiky thorns, beware!
    Native South American
    Glorious flowers

    Generous teacher,
    Caring, giving, arborist,
    Always does her best!

    Your friends,
    Mrs. Y♥llis and class

    1. Dear Mrs. Y♥llis and class,

      Thanks so much for your thought-filled comment! I agree that the thorns, or spikes, are an adaptation to ward of diners!

      I actually did not select the tree. It was selected for us by the Los Angeles Aroboretum, the organization who donated the tree. There is a link to their website in the post. Quite an interesting choice of trees for us to plant! Don't you agree?

      Your haikus are beautiful and clever!

      Your blogging buddy,
      Mrs. Ranney

  5. Dear Class,

    The silk floss tree, is very beautiful. Like many beautiful items, it is well protected.

    The thorns keep it protected from predators. If it didn't have the adaption of thorns, it might not continue to exist. The thorns also store water, which allows for it to grow in drought conditions.

    The silky floss that surrounds the large seed pods, gives the tree its name. The silk of the Silk Floss, is not of the same high quality as the kapok tree. Even still, it has many uses, such as stuffing.

    Arbor Day is a great educational opportunity. It keep us in touch with our surroundings and their importance. The Arbor Day website has wonderful ideas and links.

    Luc's Mom

  6. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    I found it very interesting that Mrs. Ranney's first class planted a tree 28 years ago. Mrs. Mayer had a great idea and I agree and want to plant a tree.

    Unlike California, some states like Connecticut have chosen to celebrate Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, which is the National Arbor Day. Only five states including California celebrate Arbor Day for an entire week.

    The silk floss tree can grow up to 82 feet tall and 7 feet wide.


  7. Dear Mrs. Ranney
    The tree really grew a lot in 28 years! I am 4 feet tall and 7 years old. I do not think I will ever be as tall as that tree. Lucas' tree was 7 feet wide, I am 1 foot 10 inches wide so that tree is 3.8 times as wide as me.

    Do you need to do anything special to plant a tree?

    Gabby (Annsley's sister)

    1. Dear Gabby,

      What a great comment! I am impressed with your math work!
      To plant a tree, you need to dig a large hole. When the tree's roots are placed in the hole, it is important to fill it in with high-quality soil. Then it needs to be watered well and often to help the roots get established!

      Thanks for commenting on our blog!

      Mrs. Ranney

  8. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,
    I think our tree is terrific because it soars up to the sky and provides good shade: What a fantastic idea for a class to come together and enhance our school campus!
    The prickles on the trunk are useful because they store water for times of dryness. Also, the thorny bark keeps animals from climbing the tree and devouring the leaves, flowers, and fruit.
    I like silk floss trees because of their pretty pink-and-white flowers: Did you know that the flower nectar attracts many insects, like my favorite, monarch butterflies? The silk floss tree grows in spurts (when water is plentiful), and can grow up to 82 feet: That’s amazing! The younger trees have green bark due to their chlorophyll content; as they get older, though, the bark usually turns grey.
    Julius Sterling Morton is responsible for starting Arbor Day: He was an enthusiastic tree lover who planted thousands of trees on his home property! Thousands of Nebraska citizens joined on April 22, 1885 to celebrate the first Arbor Day. A group of 1,000 school children united to form a giant parade! Californians celebrate Arbor Day on March 7-14. I think Arbor Day is a great day because I personally love trees and their usefulness to our environment!



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