STOP Trees Become Part of CPS Campus

Ken McLemore

HOPE – Penelope, Oakley, Talulah, Ruby and Mack were welcomed to the Clinton Primary School campus here Dec. 10 in a special ceremony marking the inauguration of the Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) program at CPS.

Penelope is a Bald Cypress, Oakley is a Shumard Oak, Talulah is a Tulip Poplar, Ruby is a Red Maple, and Mack is a Crepe Myrtle… all trees named by students and planted on the north playground by classes from CPS.

Penelope was named by Mrs. Askew’s Kindergarten class, Oakley was named by Mrs. Tarpley’s First Grade class, Talulah was named by Mrs. Butler’s Second Grade class, Ruby was named by Ms. Johnson’s Third Grade class, and Mack was named by Mrs. Kidd’s Fourth Grade class. Names were determined in a contest among all CPS classes.

Hope Public Schools District Nurse Renee Sells, RN, along with campus nursing staff Glenda Newton, RN, Eddrick Lard, RN, Marcia Widel, RN, and Lauri Mathis, RN, assisted in the formal adoption of the trees by the CPS students.

“We are excited the CPS students will have the opportunity to engage in new educational and artistic projects,” Sells said. “The biggest future reward will be the much-needed shade the trees provide, which will help reduce skin cancer as well as beautify the Clinton Primary School playground.”

Hope High School agriculture students of Michael Henagan planted the trees with representatives from each class. Participating agri students included Joshua Henley, Jasmine Martinez, Jaci Johnson, Davionna Perkins, Romelo Ford, Oscar Marquez, and Raina Masters.

Students, teachers, school board members, district administrators, district nursing staff, local dignitaries and officials, as well as representatives of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry Division Urban and Community Forestry program joined in the celebration and were welcomed to the campus by CPS Principal Ashlea Stewart.

Terrie James, Hempstead County Extension Staff Chair, represented the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Service. James explained the Extension Service role in urban forestry and introduced new Hempstead County Agricultural Extension Agent Kimberly Rowe.

Rowe reminded the CPS students of the importance of keeping each new tree healthy and offered her assistance to the students.

“I will be coming back to help them learn more about their trees next year,” she said.

 James and Marlon Ward represented the Hempstead County Master Gardeners who have maintained planted spaces at CPS and other HPS campuses and provided educational opportunities for HPS students.

ADA Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator Kristine Thomason introduced ADA personnel and commented on the benefits of shade trees and the development of the STOP program.

The STOP program was implemented by the ADA in 2002 in response to research from the American Cancer Society which emphasized the importance of limiting the sun exposure of children because of the risk of skin cancer.

CPS was among 15 schools statewide to win trees based upon site visits by ADA and Urban Forestry representatives and applications submitted by schools which are reviewed based upon need, cross-curricular impact and maintenance plans for trees once planted.

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