Liberty Middle School celebrated Arbor Day on April 29 with a tree planting ceremony. During the event, Fairfax was also named Tree City for the 39th consecutive year for its dedication to protecting trees in the community.
Following a performance by the Liberty Chorale Ensemble, Principal Adam Erbrecht opened the ceremony with some opening remarks on the importance of trees and outdoor spaces.
“In this age of virtual reality, we know that just getting outside has healing powers for our children, but we need to set the table and prepare spaces for them. Not just boring grass or mowed fields, blown and weeded,” he said. “We need less maintained spaces, wild spaces for children. I have long appreciated outdoor and environmental education simply for its impact on human well-being.
Arbrecht said that at Liberty Middle School, students not only learn to enjoy the outdoors, but also the importance of protecting it.
“Our young people in Fairfax County Public Schools know so much more about what we need to protect and preserve and about the climate crisis their generation and us as adults are facing right now,” said the president of the Supervisory Board, Jeff McKay. “The urgency of the moment is so important and it is something that not only our children realize, but also our county government and our Fairfax County Public Schools.”
McKay then read the Tree Day proclamation, after which Fairfax was later recognized by Tree City USA and presented with the Tree City Flag by Jim McGlone of the Virginia Department of Forestry.
To be named Tree City, a community must maintain a tree council or department to care for trees, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and hold a Tree Day celebration. ‘tree.
“Fairfax County exceeds that requirement and has the best forestry program, certainly the best in the state and probably one of the best in the country,” McGlone said.
McGlone said Fairfax also goes above and beyond other requirements and has some of the strictest tree protection ordinances in Virginia.
According to Mckay, there are 44 million trees in Fairfax County, providing 50% tree cover.
During the event, eight trees were planted. According to Arbrecht, the school plans to plant 51 in total and build an outdoor classroom.
“These trees in urban areas will filter our air and remove harmful particles to keep you all well and healthy, they will filter and regulate water, prevent flooding and protect our watershed, and they will also reduce noise pollution by protecting your school and homes and offices from our roads, and they will also provide a hospitable place for our animals,” said FCPS Board Chair Stella Pekarsky.
The newly planted trees will also help FCPS meet its carbon footprint reduction goals.
“The Fairfax County School Board has also accepted the recommendation of our joint environmental task force with our county to set a goal for the school division to become carbon neutral by 2040,” Pekarsky said. “We think it’s really important for all of us to work together as a county to reduce our carbon footprint and lead the way to ensure we have a more sustainable environment in the future.”